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How to Develop a Routine That Works–and Stick With It! (Part 1)

Do your days feel chaotic and disorganized? Do you feel like you’re always behind and always running around in circles?

You need a routine. It will calm your chaos and bring rhythm, order, and peace to your days.

What is a Routine?

A routine is a plan for the flow of your day. It can be very basic and bare bones or it can be more specific. However, it is not a regimented schedule with detailed time blocks for how you’re supposed to spend every minute of every day.

While a rigid schedule works well for some, we’ve found that a routine is much more doable for our family–especially since our children are younger and my husband and I both have our own businesses. No day is exactly the same, so the flexibility a routine provides is perfectly suited to allow for the interruptions that inevitably arise.

{In the middle of writing that last sentence, Kathrynne came running upstairs from the basement to let me know that Silas had just thrown up all over the couch. So I spent 20 minutes bathing him, cleaning up the couch, and taking care of the soiled clothes. Yep, this is a classic example of why a flexible routine works better for us than a rigid schedule!}

How To Set Up a Workable Routine

1. Start With the “Big Rocks”

You’ve probably seen or heard the illustration about putting the big rocks in first:

A popular story describes a time-management professor who demonstrates the importance of prioritizing by filling a five-gallon mason jar with fist-size rocks and asking the class if the jar is full. Since another big rock wouldn’t fit, the class answers, “yes.” However, the professor proceeds to pour a pitcher of gravel, then sand, and finally water into the jar before it is finally full.

The point of the story is not that you can cram much more than you ever dreamed into any given day. The point is this: “If you don’t put your big rocks in first, the fillers of life will take up your day and you won’t fit your big rocks in at all.” 

If you want to get things done that truly matter, you must focus on the big rocks. Ask yourself: What are the most important things I want to be prioritizing in my life right now?”

If you feel like you still don’t have clarity, consider what will matter to you in 25 years from now. This helps you strip away the non-essentials and focus on what you really want to be devoting the bulk of your time to.

Develop your daily routine with the big rocks in mind. You’ll likely be able to find time for some pebbles and sand, too, but begin with what matters most.

Practical Application

Take 10 minutes to consider what your “big rocks” are (ask your spouse for input, if you’re married). Write them down on a piece of paper. If you’re willing to, I’d love to have you share them in the comments section on this post.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about using these big rocks to help craft a framework for your daily routine.

photo credit

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90 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    I needed this reminder! My big rocks are developing my relationship with God through prayer and time in His Word, nourishing my relationships with my husband and kids, keeping our home a peaceful sanctuary, and taking care of my body through activity and rest!

  • Hmmm, my big rocks:

    1. My faith (spending time with Him, spending time serving in His name, etc)
    2. My kids and husband (spending time with them, doing kind things for them, having fun with them, investing in those relationships)
    3. My creativity (my writing, reading, sewing, etc)

    When I try to think what else matters to me in 25 years, nothing else really does in that grand scheme. In 25 years I hope I’m closer to my God, closer to my family (and that my children remember that they were a priority to me throughout at all times), still in love with my best friend and husband and still doing crafty crazy stuff, LOL.

  • Anna says:

    One of my big rocks would be healthy meals planned for the family.

  • Kimberly Brock says:

    1) My Faith (relationship with God and living by faith), 2) My Family (Husband and kids), 3)My Health (diet and exercise) and 4) my Productivity (duty as a wife and mother and creativity). I have a very strong desire to be and feel productive! Thank You for sharing this and leading this study! 🙂

  • Jenny V says:

    My big rocks are 1. Homeschooling my children; 2. Finishing decluttering our home so I spend less time moving junk around and can concentrate on more big rocks; 3. Time with my husband and kids; 4. Growing in my faith; 5. Improving my health and weight.

  • Tiffany says:

    Exercise, reading w my kids, family meals, and id really like to find “me” time again even if it’s just 10 mins. Those r off the top of my head so I would say I consider them most important

  • Carmen says:

    Quiet time and exercise are the things I need to make time for on a regular basis, right now. I find that putting these things early in the morning limits the distractions that might keep me from doing them at some other time of day.

  • Crystal L. says:

    My big rocks are

    1.) Working with my two-year-old on his speech delay. We are attending a special ed class for this, but I know there is more I could be doing if I made more time for it.
    2.) Finishing school. I’m in my senior year of college and excited to finish my bachelor’s degree so I can get my library science master’s. It’ll be hard, but I’m doing a double course load this year to make sure I graduate in 2012.
    3.) My relationship with my husband. With the business of life this past year I feel as if we have drifted apart. I’d like to work on becoming close again.
    4.) Well-being. I have let myself get very unhealthy. I would like to focus on eating better, exercising, and weaning myself off of my psych meds (now that I’m feeling better, I want to be off of them – they’ve contributed a lot to my weight gain and various health ailments).
    5.) Writing. Specifically, I’m working on a stand-up routine. It’s on my bucket list and I figured 2012 is as good a year as any to cross it off my list! 😀

    • sara says:

      Hi Crystal,

      When I was weaning myself off anti-anxiety medication, I took L-theanine supplements. It’s an amino acid derived from tea leaves and promotes calm and concentration. It actually induces the same type of brain waves as found in meditation and prayer. We get ours at a significant discount from vitacost.com.

      I know for me, it particularly helped when I was tapering off the medication, and my brain chemistry didn’t always kick in as quickly as I’d like. It really helped fill the gap until my own system could do its thing on its own again.

      The L-theanine, high-quality fish oil or Essential Fatty Acid supplements, and B-complex vitamins were immensely helpful as I tapered off.

      I hope I’m not out-of-line, but it did help me a lot so I wanted to offer;)

  • Paige L says:

    Wow. Already this has given me an “a-ha” moment. Thank you. Here are three big rocks for me: Playing/cuddling with my kids, some sort of homeschooling with my daughter (still figuring this out), and quality time with my husband (reading a book together, playing a game, just talking – but something we do together that is fun). I am so excited about this series. I think it will really help me. I have recently started to let go my high expectations, which has helped me be less stressed out each day, but I think this series will really help me to feel organized.

    • Paige L says:

      Two others that I just though of (that would bring my total to 5): Run/walk each day so I can be healthy and faith/read my daily Bible reading (I’m working on a read the Bible in a year plan). These 5 things will surely matter in 25 years when I look back on this time period.

  • Carrie says:

    I think I really need this, as a Mom to a medically fragil 24 year old no day in my life is ever the same. Until six months ago I worked outside our home 50+ hours a week. Now that I am home caring for my son myself I feel like I am always running behind and never getting caught up.

    My main focus in life is my family, I learned a hard lesson years ago if you don’t take care of yourself, and your spouce you can’t take care of your family. I try hard not to repeat mistakes in life and maybe you can help me become more organized so I can care for myself and my husband and my son.

    • Anna says:

      Bless your and your son and husband. I too have a disabled child although her health is “good” right now, I never know what a day will bring. One of my big rocks is our family and individual “health” and to enjoy each day as it comes. I do not know what life will bring us.

      • Stephanie says:

        My husband was diagnosed with ALS 2 years ago and has lost the use of both his arms, has difficulty eating and swallowing and needs help with everything from eating to bathing to dressing. It is also terminal. No day is ever the same for us and I often find myself just dazed at what to do next. I was just thinking I need to get some sort of routine together, I feel so out of it! I would love to hear how you ladies cope each day.

    • LJ says:

      I am a 71 yo grandmother and enjoy reading comments from you all. I, too, had twins, a 23 mo old toddler and a 7 year old. One of my twins had health problems. It seemed impossible at times but we all got through it. Please try to enjoy the moments, they pass so quickly. I learned what was important in my life and let the rest go. At times I wondered if I could make it through. Take one day at a time and do your best, that’s all you can do. All my children are grown, successful, and happy with children of their own. I have had a blessed life.

  • This is so timely! I have a 2-month-old and 22-month-old and I’m still adjusting to life with 2 babies but have been thinking the past few days that it’s time to get into a routine to make life simpler! Right now my biggest rock is caring for 2 little ones! Between diaper changes for 2, nursing, feeding my ravenous toddler (and myself), wiping noses and tears, it’s hard to get much else done some days but in 25 years I know I won’t regret that little things didn’t get marked off of my to do list!

    • Tracy says:

      I could have written this comment. I am right there with you. I have 6 month old twin boys, who are teething, and a 4.5 year old little girl. It is exactly what you said: cloth diaper changes, nursing and getting everyone fed. If I could just get some of the clutter under control, I could breathe a little easier. I am trying to remind myself how quickly this time goes. These will be my last babies and I need to enjoy it while it lasts!

    • Tracy S. says:

      I also could have written that comment except I’d have to add a 7 year old to the mix and my youngest is only 3 weeks old. right now I’m nursing the little one with the 22 month old playing with older brother’s hotwheels track and disney jr on the tv. The kitchen’s a wreck and I have at least 2 loads of laundry that need to be done along with those that still need to be folded and put away. But my family’s happy and healthy so I’ll catch up on that stuff when I can (which I hope is sooner than later ;-).

      • becc says:

        it’s so nice to read this…I feel less alone. 9 wk old, 22 month old, 3.5 year old…struggling with behavior issues with the older child; I want to be organized so badly! I have to keep reminding myself there is a season for everything. Probably not going to be hyper organized with the little ones right now – especially since I have NEVER been an organized, disciplined person! I love the rocks idea. definitely looking forward to following along on this.

        • Tracy says:

          This is the Tracy with the twin boys. I went to bed happy last night that others are going through what I am. It helps a lot to share and see that others are struggling with the same issues. I feel less alone too. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment.

    • Erin says:

      I’m in the same Season of life! Three kids, two dogs, an impending move and a husband away due to Army obligations. Big rocks in this season for me, is just making sure my kids are comfortable, happy and safe! The house will never be perfect. I don’t want my kids to base their happiness around a “clean” house!

      • Rachel says:

        I’m getting better at not striving for a super neat house. I’m more relaxed and honestly feel like I’m soaking up more precious moments with baby number two since I’m not worried about keeping the house perfectly clean!

  • Rebecca says:

    The “big rocks” in my life are definitely the relationships I have. My relationship with God, my husband, my children, and other family and friends are the most important things to me. However I struggle to put the big rocks first in my life. My days are being occupied with keeping the house clean and running errands that I miss out on what is most important to me. I am looking forward to learning how to develop a routine that helps me focus on what’s really important.

  • Crystal says:

    1. Continuing to grow in my faith
    2. Strengthening my marriage.
    3. Spending quality time with my children.
    4. Using my creative talents whether it be through teaching (not currently doing) or
    crafting.

    • Cassie says:

      My Big Rocks:
      1.Spending time with my Lord and Savior Daily.
      2.Spending quality time on my husband…making him come before my children (but not their needs). Something I recently learned at a class at church.
      3. Cuddle/read/play/activities: have quality time with my children.
      4. Dealing with the clutter so I am not chasing my tail with cleaning. I daycare out my very small house. We have way too much stuff! I am usually putting cleaning above my own family.
      5. Using my creative talents (teaching or crafting)
      6. Strengthening my relationship with friends

  • Rebecca says:

    The big rocks: spending quality and quantity time with my husband and 4 kiddos; spending time with God; developing and nurturing friendships (so I have friends 25 years from now!); studying for and eventually taking the Georgia bar exam, after 8 years of being stay at home mommy. I only worked as an attorney in another state for 2 years before our first child came along, and I gave up the career to stay home with my babies. 25 years from now, I will be thankful I took the exam so I can still use those skills when the time is right.

  • sarah says:

    Love this!

    I hope silas feels better, poor little man. And really, only 20 minutes to clean all that up?? i’m impressed 😉

  • Mary says:

    Big rocks here: quiet time to read my Bible, pray, and listen! When that’s first I often get direction from the Lord for the rest of my day. DH and my family are next. Regular exercise and healthy food give me enough energy to get all the little rocks in.

  • Suzette says:

    Hmm…what a great reflection!
    1. daily prayer time
    2. quality time with my toddler (sitting down and engaging with her for more than 10 minutes)
    3. nourishing my toddler, husband, self and wee one in the womb
    4. quality time with my husband (which is NOT him playing video games/music while I sit nearby and read/browse the web)
    5. living clutter-free (I am appalled when I spend time moving, sorting, placing, etc. junk around the house b/c it keeps me from spending time with the beautifully and wonderfully made people in my home!)
    6. exercise

    If I were to accomplish all three each day, WOW! I think the rest of my day would slide into place and I would have more time than I ever realized.

  • I have my list memorized (but still seem to fill my jar with sand most days than not). It’s: time with God, time walking (preferably outside), time with my husband and kids, for me, time spent being creative.

  • Amy says:

    This is exactly what I need right now! Sometimes I feel like I am so busy all.day.long, yet the really important things never get done. I spend my days “putting out fires”, bouncing from one urgent need to the next, while the important things get pushed off.
    I thought about doing the rigid schedule many times, but I make it and then fail due to things exactly like you mentioned. (I hope Silas is better soon. I will pray a stomach virus does not make the rounds in your house. Ugh!)
    Anyway, my obvious Big Rocks are 1) growing closer to Jesus 2) relationship with husband and children 3) homeschooling but then it all gets fuzzy for me. I can’t seem to figure out what to list next, as it all seems important and it all seems like it will matter in 25 years. Things like taking care of My health and my family’s health; ministering to others in the community and sharing our faith;creating a peaceful home filled with beauty and good memories (food!);being active in church, spending time making and mainaining friends; saving money;
    I am interested to see what the next post is, as this is something I have struggled with for a long time.

  • Laurie says:

    this is just what I needed! thank you! now I need part 2! 🙂

  • Madeline says:

    I would love to write them down but I can’t find a pen. 😉

  • Lillian says:

    What a great way to get organized in your life!
    First on my list would be to focus more on my faith. The last five years have been so hard but now things are turning around. I know He carried me through the really rough times and I need to put Him first.

    Second would be putting my kids first more and not worring so much about getting the laundry done, house cleaned, etc. This is going to take some serious planning because I am a single mom and don’t have anyone to divide chores with.

    Third would be to really focus more on my goal of loosing 35lbs with Weight Watchers and getting to the gym more. I really miss working out. Such a great stress reliever!

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Lillian,
      I wanted to comment on your goal of losing weight. I’m on maintenance now with WW, after losing 35 pounds. My goal was 15, but I was so successful I kept going…. I bought a mini stepping machine and was able to exercise at home and not worry about getting to a gym. It’s small and was inexpensive and it did the trick. Good luck!

  • Katherine says:

    Big Rocks (focusing on them very strongly right not during lent (Him, Husband, Kids, Self (taking care of myself…rest,exercise), using my creative talents to start a business pleasing to Him). I know I have lots of pebbles that crowd my day….the biggest are my phone and computer. When I see I have an email on my phone, I want to instinctively check it which could lead to getting on the computer, etc., I’m sure you will address this…..but what is your routine for checking all of that without letting it take over?? I’m wondering if I should just disconnect email from my phone altogether??

  • Amy says:

    This is going to be a good series. I know my big rocks should be:
    Jesus, my husband, myself and my kids. In reality it is my kids, the house, the errands and spinning around like crazy and myself growing more and more unhealthy by the day! And not necessarily my kids in the right sense. More like trying to provide their every whim and keep them happy, instead of providing fun bible lessons and teaching them chores/responsibilities so they can grow up productive and with a strong faith. I hate to admit it, but I think I’ve been spinning for 10 years. That’s how old my oldest child is! That is also when I received my faith so we made so many changes at once. I will try to remove the sand and do the big rocks:
    Time with Jesus.
    Connecting with my husband again.
    Exercise for me.
    Healthy meals for the family.
    Fun times and growth in Jesus for the kids.

    • Looking at the comments, almost everyone states their top three are their faith, family and self (be it health, crafts, creativity, etc.). Kudos to you Amy for realizing that although that is what you feel they SHOULD be, you aren’t there yet, and making the commitment to make the change!!!

      My three are definitely my family, faith and balance in my life – all areas I need to continually work on and remind myself that the “sand” isn’t that big of a deal in the long run.

      Great post – looking forward to the rest!

      • Annie Kate says:

        Blessings to you, Amy! It’s hard to get it all going, especially when you’ve had a lot of changes in your life at the same time. But God is good and He will help you serve Him. Praise the Lord!

        My big rocks:
        1.Be faithful in personal Bible reading and prayer, especially intercession for others right now.
        2.Be a happy anchor for my family to help them deal with some very sad issues. This includes taking my health seriously, because I cannot be as cheerful and calm when my health is bad.
        3.Make and keep the house as pleasant as possible for us all.
        4.Be consistent in daily homeschooling activities.

  • tonya says:

    I have been trying to do this for quite awhile. I have succeeded some, but still need more schedules in my life. Even though my kids are grown, 20 and 18, it seems I still have so much to do with/for them. I need to work on my relationship with my husband. He works so much, we need to spend good quality time together when he is home rather than always trying to get “work” done. I need to work on my family eating healthier. My daughter is in college and occasionally needs my help with her algebra, yuck, so I need to find time for her because her career depends on her passing these classes. So basically it all revolves around my family, which it should!

  • I have tried the “rigid schedule”, and the “no-schedule-at-all” with my family…neither of which worked very well.

    Now, we stick to a flexible daily routine that works for all of us. Children thrive on routine and appreciate knowing what comes next, throughout the day.

    For myself, a daily routine helps me to remember everything I need to do. Often, if I don’t stick to our normal pattern or routine, “mommy brain” will sneak up on me and I’ll forget something that needs to be done.

    I love the rock analogy. Such a great way to look at life ! Thank you.

  • What an aha moment for me, when you mentioned “Think of what will matter in 25 years from now”…….I don’t want my children remembering me behind my computer working on photography, instead of spending time with them. I definitely need to re-work my day and re-think my time….because in 25 years, they will not be home with me!! I love having my own business, but need to find better balance!! Thank you !

  • Dawn says:

    1. Quiet time reading/praying/meditating to make sure to recharge mommy
    2. Exercise
    3. Healthy Meals planned and prepared

  • Cassie says:

    You have no idea how much I needed this! I have chose to stay at home with my (15 month old and almost 3 year old) instead of getting a teaching job. In the process I also added 4 other children to the mix, to daycare. While we need the extra children here so we can get debt gone and out of our lives, I feel ran down and running in circles most days.
    My Big Rocks:
    1.Spending time with my Lord and Savior daily, He should come first in my life!
    2.Spending quality time on my husband…making him come before my children (but not their needs). This is something I recently learned at a class at church. We were putting our children first….
    3. Cuddle/read/play/sing/dance/activities: have quality time with my children.
    4. Dealing with the clutter so I am not chasing my tail with cleaning. I feel like what I do on a daily basis is put this above my family. We have a small house so, any clutter makes me uncomfortable and I constantly clean.
    5. Using my creative talents (teaching or crafting)
    6. Strengthening my relationship with friends

  • Faith says:

    Big Rocks:
    1. Time with God and in His word.
    2. Attention to husband and kids…making sure their needs are met AND quality time.
    3. Writing for income to make ends meet
    4. Keeping my home clean and peaceful. (I put writing for income ahead of this becasue if I do it the other way we might really not have a house to call home, lol!)

  • My big rocks are my faith; my husband, children, and granddaughter; my extended family; my friends; and my health. Unfortunately, I do have a problem with letting the sand and gravel get in the way so I’ll have to work harder at focusing on my priorites. Thank you for the reminder, Crystal.

  • Great topic. I love routine, but placing focus first on the big rocks is wonderful reminder It’s so easy to lose sight of what’s really important.

  • Routines are wonderful! I am great at writing schedules, but horrible at following through because, as you said, one day of life with littles is always different than the next.

    Basic morning, lunch and evening routines help me make sure that I get the important things done and add so much peace to our days!

  • Katheryn F. says:

    This one was a toughie for me. Usually, I am quite organized and scheduled. Usually rising before the kiddos, getting things done and working diligintly. However, after #6 arrived and still nursing, getting up and the demands of the other kiddos, it has been hard. But this was such a nice reminder of the importance of keeping a schedule for myself and really sticking to what is important. With that schedule in place for myself I truly can accomplish all I want to. Thanks for this post.

    Katheryn
    http://www.outoftheboring.com

  • NIKKI says:

    I love the idea of looking into the future 25 years from now. That will definitely help me narrow my focus and my priorities. This is something I have struggled with for years. I tend to try and be superwoman all the time taking on many tasks only to partly accomplish them if not nothing at all. Thanks for the tip MONEY SAVING MOM!!!

  • Melissa says:

    My big rocks are… 
    God
    My husband 
    My duaghter
    I want to find away everyday to make sure each of them know what they mean to me. 
    I have been working on my daily praying and I have found a website that I can listen to the bible while I’m driving. 
    I have learn alot from the ebook “how to have a new husband by Friday” it has helped me work on my relationship with my husband. It had let me know what I am doing worng. And I have been working on our alone life too!
    I have set up a bed time that let’s my duaghter and I have quiet time reading every night. 
    I have set up a bedtime routine with my daughter where we read our books together and drink tea before bed. I also have game nights and movies planned. 

    It is hard being a working mom. I love my family and that I think is the biggest rock is to let them know what they mean to me.    

  • Beth says:

    My “big rock” that I came up with are as follows:
    1. Alone time with God/prayer life
    2. Preschool with my son at home
    3. Family time (reducing computer/tv)
    4. Housework
    5. Couponing/Menu plannin
    6. Blogging/social media
    7. Exercise
    Thanks for the tips and ideas of writing this down. Great way to get motivated! I’m in desperate need of a routine. I always have a hard time sticking to one.

  • Laura McKeen says:

    I’m soooo looking forward to this series! The first ‘big rock’ that comes to mind is home school, I have a six year old that I need to be more diligent with (a new baby doesn’t help schedules/routines stick very well). I have a date w/ my hubby tonight so this will be a great topic 😀

  • Kim says:

    My big rocks:

    1) Prayer time
    2) Taking better care of myself (I’m pregnant and I have OCD, so there are plenty of challenges in those two things alone!)
    3) Quality time with my beloved
    4) Quality time with my children
    5) Cultivating a spirit of joy!

  • Michelle says:

    Reading all these great blogs!!! LOL – Just thought I would throw a funny your way 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    I read A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot a few years ago and it changed the way I live my life. She helped me prioritize what was important and to plan my day around that, instead of the other way around. Definitely a must read! It’s really short, too!!

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, this is just what I needed. Thank you! So here goes:
    Mon-Fri, work/school morning routine, the big rocks are:
    1. Put on Clean Clothes
    2. Brush Teeth, do hair, wash face/makeup
    3. Eat Breakfast
    4. Prepare Lunches
    5. Pack backpack, sign papers, find library bks, etc.
    (And #6. would be get out the door ON TIME)

  • Mandi says:

    Just bringing up the topic has given me inspiration. Thank you, Crystal. We moved into a new home just weeks before my husband deployed, so I feel like I’ve been playing catch up for the last 3 months. Here’s my list:
    1. Spend time in the Word daily personally and with the girls.
    2. Write a nice long email or letter to hubby to know how much his work is appreciated.
    3. Exercise…good for my mental and physical health.
    4. Books, songs, and cuddles with my girls….being in the moment instead of thinking about what needs to get done when they go to bed..

    Love the perspective of “25 years from now”. It bring great clarity to what matters most…not to mention I am modeling to my daughters the things I want them to value in life.

  • AC says:

    I attend the Franklin Covey Focus training a long time ago and loved the concept of big rocks. Love that other commentors have been inspired to think of what their big rocks are. I often redo the exercise of introducing myself in 5 years and introducing myself in 25 years. Very insightful!

    The routine portion of this post really resonated with me. I work full time so I do have a schedule but I find our home life works much better with a routine rather than a true schedule. The crazy part is that I’ve found if I don’t stick with our morning routine the ENTIRE day is off. It took awhile to figure out what our routine needed to be but it is, without question, the biggest indicator of how our day will go. This isn’t to say that it is the most important thing at all…just that it sets the stage for a successful day.

  • 1) Continue to strengthen my devotional life.
    2) Spend the time necessary to get our homeschool lessons done each day. 8 students this year = lots of time!!
    3) Pray for and encourage my husband every single day. Every single day. Every single day. Yeah.

  • lindsey says:

    The 25 years perspective is a good one. When I asked my kids what they remembered about growing up, I was horrified that they recall me saying, “In a minute” when they wanted my attention or to do something fun. They also remember me trying to turn everything into a lesson about Jesus or the environment or learning somthing, instead of just letting things be fun or enjoyed. They didn’t say these to me in mean or hurtful ways, just offhandedly commenting on their childhoods. One wonderful thing was being told that they felt secure about their parents’ marriage—when almost everyone they knew came from divorced or troubled homes, they knew that my husband and I treasured each other and that even when we disagreed the result was discussions and not yelling, slammed doors or the silent treatment.

    • Marisa says:

      Wow, this has really hit me. I say “just a minute” often and the next thing I know, it’s been 10 minutes. I need to remember this.

  • hmmm . . . this is making me think!
    I sat down the other day to try and figure out a good schedule for me (I usually like planning a schedule more than following it though!). 🙂 My problem . . . trying to decide which big (and little) rocks to focus on (I have too many likes and desires!) But this will help some. (not in any particular oder)
    #1 Time with God (this has been trying to be squeezed in after my littler rocks! Not good!)
    #2 Exercise (this got left out of the jar all together!)
    #3 Ministry to others
    #4 Time with my family

    My next big rocks are the ones I’ve been trying to figure out how to fit them in my week/days so that it works for me and my sometimes ADD brain! 🙂
    #1 Blogging – Mothering Matters, and Drink from the Deep – writing posts, updating, learning, developing, etc
    #2 Book writing – finish the 1st one, or start on the smaller (kids) ones I have ideas for
    #3 Purging, cleaning and organizing
    #4 Reading, learning, growing in various areas – parenting, spiritually, relationally, etc.

    etc, etc, etc. 🙂

    Instead – I have been filling my jar up with sand (emails, FB and non-essentials!).
    Keep me accountable girl!! 🙂
    Thanks for the post!

  • Lauryn says:

    This is a great idea and one that I needed right at this very moment.
    My big rocks are:
    -spending quality “on the floor” time with my three children who deserve my undivided attention
    -remembering every day that my best friend and husband needs time as well and our relationship deserves that
    -focusing on my health and the health of my family
    -making sure that my house is a relaxing and clean place for us all to call home

  • kirsten says:

    I am sharing your postings on my blog. I am writing what I have learned so far and my goals. I LOVE YOUR BLOG btw!

    big rocks:
    –quality time (reading doing crafts just playing ect) with my children
    -time alone not watching tv with my husband
    -making our food as wholesome and from the “farm”/homemade as possible
    -homeschooling the kids
    -keeping house “clean” and organized

  • Sarabell says:

    I don’t have any children so I feel like I have fewer big rocks, but they seem just as important to me nonetheless!
    My big rocks would be my relationship with my husband, my duties in our home, my current job, and my newly budding writing career. I suppose I’d say I have quite a few medium rocks as well… nonessential committments I have because I like, not because I necessarily need… and of course billions of little rocks which include things like baking/eating brownies and watching movies. =]

  • Nanny says:

    I’m helping a mum with a 23 month old and newborn triplets develop a workable routine. For her the rocks are mostly feeds, naps and laundry but having those at set times allows guaranteed calm moments for the rock a lot of people miss out on – reading a story with the toddler or snuggling with one of the babies. The routine doesn’t take away from the fun – having a plan for the “boring bits” is what makes the fun possible.

  • Big Rocks
    1) Reading my Bible/Praying
    2) Homeschooling my daughter (this event is taking up my whole jar right now)
    3) Playing/Crafting with my kiddos
    4) Making my house a home
    5) Time with my man

    • Emily T says:

      What a great list 🙂 I have started homeschooling as well… I think a key to it not taking up your whole jar is to break it down. Have her sort laundry with you (math/colors). Teach her to follow a recipe. And make ANY craft a learning experience. Example: Google “Zebra Mask” print it off and have her color while you talk about 3 basic zebra facts: 1. They live in Africa 2. They eat grass. 3. They can run 40mph.
      Or have her decorate a princess crown and only let her use blue, green, and red for jewels- then talk about sapphires, emerald, and rubys.

      -Good luck.. I know its tough, but will be TOTALLY worth it!

  • Leah says:

    this is probably the single most helpful series you’ve done (in my opinion!) ..i can’t wait for part 3. here are my ‘big rocks’:
    Homeschooling my daughter
    Making my home a sanctuary (which means keeping it clean and cooking good meals for my family)
    Spending quality time with my husband and child(ren)
    Self-sufficiency (trying to be a good steward of what God has given us and trying to lessen our reliance on others)
    Spending time with God for me-ie, my prayer time, my Bible reading
    Serving God’s people

  • Abby says:

    My big rocks are: finishing school (my last semester of college), keeping my relationship with my boyfriend happy and healthy, managing my anxiety issues, personal health/weight loss, my dog’s health (undergoing “slow kill” heart worm treatment) and his little doggy happiness (I’m worried about his quality of life with me being gone all day at school and no one paying attention to him), practicing SAFE DRIVING (if my ADHD gets me in one more accident, I might never be able to afford insurance again), and monetary responsibility.

  • Deanna says:

    1. Spending quality time with my husband and son.
    2. Preparing healthy meals for us.
    3. Working on my physical fitness.
    4. Working on my creativity.

    It seems like if I put my emphasis on these things now, our future as a family well be tremendously better for it.

    Thank you for posting this series! I’m excited to read the rest!

  • Kelley says:

    Thank you so much for posting this series! You couldn’t possibly know how it came at the PERFECT time in my life. I created a rigid, minute-by-minute schedule on New Year’s Day, and it was so overwhelming to look at that I never once implemented it! I have since caught the blogging bug, and am going to hold myself accountable for creating and adhering to a new routine by posting my own time management mini-series. (Basically a progress report of my successes and failures of following your suggestions for routines.)

    Please know that you are my personal hero. I have derived many of my goals from yours because you are such an inspiration. In my almost-20 posts, I’ve probably referred to you 50 times. My five readers must be convinced by now that they should stop reading my blog, and just read yours instead! 🙂

    Thank you for all that you do in the way of helping to motivate people like me to become better home economists, mothers, wives, and Christians.

  • Kathy says:

    My big rocks:
    Keeping my health stable
    Keeping a rock solid home – a sanctuary/oasis for my family
    Strengthen marriage every day
    Keeping finances straight
    Building a blog to help others

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