Yesterday, I encouraged you all to stop trying to do it all. You only have 24 hours in your day and when you let go of trying to be superwoman and just be content with being who God has made you to be, you’ll find your life is so much more peaceful and calm.
In addition, if you want to be a better manager of your time, you need to determine what your priorities are.
I promised you I’d share my list of priorities and what I don’t do. However, I want to remind everyone that this is just my own personal list for this current season of my life. Your list will likely look much different — and it should!
Everyone’s list of priorities is going to look different because we’re all different with different family situations, different needs, different commitments, different struggles and different strengths and weaknesses. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. And what works in one season of our life might not work at all in another season.
My Current List of Priorities:
1. Having a strong and vibrant relationship with the Lord. I make it a goal to spend around 30 minutes first thing in the morning reading God’s Word and praying. In addition, I seek to continually be nurturing my relationship with the Lord by reading spiritually uplifting books, spending time with other Christians and being involved in our local church.
2. Having a wonderful, open, no-holds-barred relationship with my husband. My goal is to flirt with my husband at least once every day. I know it might seem trivial, but it’s the little things which keep the spark going in a marriage. We try to never let anything come between us. So when we have disagreements or misunderstandings, we take the time to discuss these and talk things through until we reach a point of unity — even if it takes a long time! We try to set aside at least an hour to spend together one-on-one every day and then have at least one at-home date night each week and a monthly date where we leave our children and go out to dinner or on a fun outing.
3. Teaching and loving and enjoying my children. Next to the Lord and my husband, my children are my top priorities. In addition to homeschooling, reading, teaching, discipling and playing with them, I try to spend at least 15 minutes with each child one-on-one every day. I also try to take one child with me on an outing every week and we rotate whose child’s turn it is each week.
4. Staying healthy and energetic and constantly seeking to improve my mind. I’ve found that if I’m exhausted and burnt out, I’m not a good wife and mom. So I make my own health a big priority. I try to exercise at least four hours each week, get at least seven hours of sleep every night and eat healthfully. It’s also important to me that I constantly seek to be improving my mind through reading, thinking through issues and learning new things; I don’t want my brain to turn to “mush”. My husband also encourages me to go somewhere by myself (to the coffee shop, grocery shopping, an evening with friends, etc.) for a few hours once a week as this refreshes me and energizes me as a wife and mom.
5. Keeping a fairly clean and orderly home. Our home is never perfect — and often far from perfect! — but I aim to have it completely picked up at least once a day, to stick with my cleaning and laundry schedule (I’ll be sharing more about this next week) and to always keep it 45 minutes to “Company Ready” or less. We don’t have a lot of clutter, so this helps tremendously in keeping things more organized.
6. Running a blog. I really enjoy blogging — especially when I’m able to have my other priorities in order! — and it’s also a way I can minister and help people from a laptop in my living room. So my husband and I feel it’s something God has called me to do right now. That may change as my children grow older; we’ll see how God leads! For now, I am blessed to have a team of six people working for me to help shoulder this load so that it’s not overly-burdensome to me.
7. Sticking to a cash budget. This involves, among other things, setting financial goals, looking for the best deals on items we’re planning to buy, waiting until we have saved up enough to pay cash for something and making sure we stay within the cash budgeted in our cash envelopes.
8. Ministering to people in our community. In this increasingly virtual world of social media, real-life relationships are very important to us. We try to open our home for hospitality at least once a month and then I aim to minister in specific, practical ways to people in our church and community at least a few times each week. Usually this is something simple like having my children write notes to someone or put together a care package, getting together with a friend who’s struggling, jotting a quick email to let someone know I’m praying for them, bringing a batch of rolls or a frozen casserole to church to give to someone who just had a baby or something of this nature.
Things Which Aren’t On My Priority List Right Now:
::Decorating (My sister is helping me decorate our house as I already told you this is an area I have absolutely zero giftings in!)
::Ironing (We try to buy mostly wrinkle-free items and my husband takes his work clothes to the dry cleaners.)
::Frequent Shopping Trips (I don’t do that much shopping and I prefer to shop online whenever I can.)
::Lots of Extra Curricular Activities for My Children
::Making Homemade Gifts & Cards
::And much, much more!
I also don’t take care of any of the bill-paying/book-keeping (my husband does this as he’s excellent at it and loves it). We don’t have pets to care for. I’m not in any regular playgroups or Bible Studies. I’m not on any committees. I don’t pack lunches for my husband to take to work. And I only make dinner four to five nights per week (we eat out once a week and we often go to extended family’s homes for one to two dinners each week).
So yes, there’s so much I don’t do right now. And I believe this is one of my biggest keys to efficiency: I say “no” often and I try to carefully choose my activities and commitments so that I don’t overload my plate.
Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll talk more about streamlining, prioritizing and finding breathing room in your life by creating a Time Budget.