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When Joanna Gaines became caught between getting her kids with Chip Gaines home for bedtime and stealing a special moment with her dad, she prioritized efficiency. But after she left him to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures alone, “it didn’t take long” for her to begin regretting what was lost. And a lesson emerged from the choice in the end.

Read on to discover what moment Joanna missed, what she learned from it, and how she made up for it with her dad.

Joanna Gaines, pictured in 2016, learned efficiency isn't always the most important thing.
Joanna Gaines | Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

Joanna Gaines is successfully efficient

According to Joanna, early lessons about the importance of being efficient “started to cultivate a fear of misplacing” time. She shared in a note from the Magnolia Journal, “I started to measure my days based on all the things I didn’t get to instead of all that I was able to.”

She added that she “leaned into efficiency more and more over the years, treating time like something to control,” and she wore her time management skills like a “badge of honor.”

“And the truth is,” the Fixer Upper star confessed, “I am good at being efficient.”

Joanna Gaines once prioritized efficiency over a sunset with her dad

One evening while visiting her dad, Joanna decided she wanted to get home for bedtime. That was the efficient thing to do. Though her dad wanted her to stay about 15 more minutes to watch the sunset with him, she declined the offer.

Joanna wanted to stick to her routine with her youngest son, Crew, about a year and a half old then.

“… By then we’d figured out that when we could get him to bed by 7:30 p.m. he was just an all-around happier kid the next day,” she explained in her note. “So Crew’s bedtime became an important part of our family’s daily routine, and getting him down for the night on time felt like a win, like I’d succeeded in managing our time well.”

So, they left. But it didn’t sit well with Joanna. “It didn’t take me long to regret that moment,” she noted, adding, “My dad is the most understanding person when it comes to my family’s time.”

She shared, “An invitation to stay and watch the sun disappear with him was a special request. I realized I’d held a meaningful moment hostage in the name of efficiency.”

Joanna resolved to watch a sunset with her dad as soon as possible. But the pandemic kept it from happening immediately.

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Eventually, Joanna could reclaim that lost moment with her dad, whose tire business she almost ran. And she knew she would approach life a little differently moving forward.

“For so long I’d chased efficiency for fear of misplacing my time. Yet as we stood there, eyes fixed on the sherbet-color sky, I wondered how many other moments just like this I had misplaced instead,” she wrote in the Magnolia Journal note. “That evening was a turning point for me.”

She added, “No longer would I measure my life based on what I achieved in a week, a day, or an hour. Now, it is time spent in moments like the one I shared with my dad that I hope define my lifetime.”