We are talking all about scheduling today!
I want you to think about how you’re ordering your days, and the heart of what you’re really trying to accomplish. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 So much of orderliness is actually about energy management. As you think about what you can try improving this month, pick one or two experiments you can try. Really try them! Put the excuses aside.
Do this as homework if you can make the time:
- What are the signs you have scheduling problems?
- What excuses do you make? How can you overcome them?
- What’s your life purpose? The purpose you have for this year? What’s your purpose today?
- How are your spending your time? How are you assessing how you did each day, week, month, quarter, year?
- How do you keep track of things? Time, money, physical objects, obligations, promises?
- What season of life are you in? There’s absolutely seasonality to our lives. Where are you? A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8
Here are some experiments you can try to use to improve your life. Pick 1 or 2 and work on those with intense focus this month. Ask God for His help. I really mean it. Set your tasks before God and ask Him about it. My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2
What I’m about to tell you are things I work on in my own life. Curate your time and your life.
A little pain (hard work) up front pays off in spades! This is going to be hard, because you’re changing a habit. That’s hard! Give yourself more time for whatever experiment you choose.
- The busier you are, the more time you should spend praying reflecting and planning. Review your schedule once a week with your significant other, or, if you’re single, with an accountability partner. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
- Outsource what you can. Think creatively. Recruit and ask for help. Here are some ideas. Record yourself giving lessons to your children! Use a mother’s helper – they can be as young as 8 years old. Train your helpers with great rewards! They can be a reading buddy, a school buddy, a meal prepper, a cleaner, a gardener, a playmate, and more! The more you have at a time, the better you may be. Think in numbers. Like, 2-3 mother’s helpers at a time is better than 1, because 1 can entertain your kids while the others do other work.
- Form right habits. Think of 1-2 bad habits your kids have and work diligently at reversing them. Here are some examples. Have kids make beds before they eat breakfast. Clean up meals before they play, even for 2 year olds! Pray before they whine or complain – I need to do this one! Pack the night before. Even set out the clothes if you can. Wake up earlier if you need to in order to accomplish this important feat.
- Do the same things on same days of the week at the same time if you can. Your body your mind your spirit getting accustomed to these things. God honors you when you honor Him. Try preparing a menu for the week, and do it the 2nd week as well! See if that helps you. If it does, do it again with a second set of meals for weeks 3 & 4. Then you’ll have variation for the following month, and you can alternate menus A & B. If you’re family wants more variety, do your meal plan again in week 6. Then rotate menus A, B & C. Get the picture?
- Use shortcuts. Here are some examples: Sometimes use paper plates and have a picnic instead of setting the dinner table. Buy a prepared dinner. Use trader joes to buy frozen veggies sometimes. Have your veggies delivered. Carpool. Trade tasks with friends. Maybe a friend would grocery shop for you while you teach kids or do homework with kids. Maybe a friend would cook once a week for you, if you cook for them once a week. Maybe someone is better at a task you despise. Trade! Look up life hacks. Try them! See what helps.
- Measure your time. Find out where your inefficiencies are and manage them better. Figure out how long things take you and budget your time like you do your money. It’s a resource too. Cull out time-killers and priority-killers and budget in 1 or 2 more replacements. Work hard at this! Notice how it’s impacting your energy. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28
- Keep an energy log. Put your high priority activities in this space in your life. Leave the rest for lower energy times. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17
- Conjoin activities. Do errands with a friend. It may take 10 minutes longer to drive to each other, but then you get to go on a friend date. Walk or clean or make food, and talk on the phone. Work out together. Pray together. Do your Bible study together. So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom Psalm 90:12
- Have no make up days.
- Batch process – do the essentials, but do them bigger. Like pack lunches in bulk. Cook in bulk. Shop in bulk. Season and marinate before you freeze.
- Here are some you all thought of: write down your successes each night. Write down your successes. Make a hit list for the day and do those 2-3 must-do’s. Find an accountability partner.
Okay, here are a few book recommendations. If you don’t have time to read these, listen to them in the car or the shower, or in the bathroom… wherever! But don’t be someone who never really tries to change! Force your habits to bend for the better. We’re never really stagnant. We’re always moving forward or backward in life.
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (this is life changing!)
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
- The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
- Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (maybe my least favorite, but still good… it’s just that the others really are so good!
Finally, just know that you are worth it! Your children are worth it! You will change your life, and their lives by doing your best. And go into the day, knowing you do your best already!! I know you do! “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah” Psalm 39:4-5