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Time Management 101: Determine What Your Priorities Are

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.

determine your priorities

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:


::Gourmet Meals



::Watching TV

::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.)

::Elaborate Freezer Cooking

::Lots of Extra Curricular Activities for My Children

::Making Homemade Gifts & Cards

::Playing the Drugstore Game

::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.

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  • What? You don’t iron at all! :). Thanks so much for letting us have a peek into your life. Having actual details of time spent, etc. is really interesting as well as helpful in understanding how it all works. I find myself struggling often with expectations, especially as a Christian, because if I’m not attending Bible study, mom’s group, or ladies’ group, (which I’m okay with, except for the Bible study which has really been encouraging for me), it’s easy to feel like I’m being anti-social.

  • Crystal, thank you so much for being so open! It’s relieving to know you don’t do it all, especially things like the drugstore game, freezer cooking (I know you mentioned that before) and Bible study. I’m usually ok with the fact that I don’t have time for the drugstore game but sometimes I get a twinge of regret. As far as freezer meals thankfully lately I have been able to buy some with coupons on Super Doubles days so that has helped provide the convenience without the added time (but of course minus the home cooked taste!). I usually don’t go to Bible studies because 1) I’m working when they happen and 2) when I’m not working and I go to a study I inevitably end up wishing I was home with my little ones. However, God in his grace took me to one Bible study not long ago which was a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing for me to do, and I really needed to hear what was read and discussed there. It started me on a journey toward contentment and greater love for my husband, children and my awesome gracious heavenly Father.

    Thanks again, Crystal for letting God use you to encourage all of us.

  • cat says:


    Thank you so much for your open and honest blog. I love reading your blog daily. I find it such a great source of encourgement for me. I will often get my husband to read many of the “I paid cash for xxx” articles.

    God Bless

  • Hollaina says:

    Thank you for sharing your priorities. Mine are always changing as new challenges and things come my way. I love reading other people’s perspectives on things. 🙂

  • Lizzie says:

    Thanks for sharing. You’re right that we just can’t do it all.

    I don’t iron or play the drug store game either;) and I don’t do very many church things or extra curricular homeschool things.

    But I do love some crafts:) I don’t do those because I feel pressure to do so, it’s just that I’m a creative person and I enjoy creating beautiful things. If I’m not working on something, I feel very stressed!

  • Timbrel says:

    I think it is SO awesome that you are sharing this with other women! So many people (myself included!) feel the need to be superwoman. The fact is, because I have twins under the age of one, having ideally clean baseboards is just not one of my priorities. I also have an eight year old who I homeschool! Sometimes I feel so pressured to have absolutely everything perfect–it’s so nice to meet real human beings. 🙂

    Oh, I’m Timbrel–nice to meet you. 🙂

  • Dawn Dart says:

    I really appreciate this series. I purchased Amy’s ebook and am loving it! I would really be interested in hearing some of your discipline techniques. My 3 year old is a diva and my patience gets very thin too often!

  • Bernie says:

    How timely, my husband just told me the other day, “Washing dishes by hand is a waste of time. We have a dishwasher, use it and do something else instead.” It was a good wake up call at the time because I was feeling overwhelmed with chores and planning a party. Thanks for sharing this list with us!

    • Teri Capshaw says:

      @Bernie, That reminds me of how I need to really look at the things I think I’m doing for others– and make sure I’m not wasting effort to please them when they don’t really care. For example, I was trying to figure out what to have for supper tonight when my husband suggested leftover vegetable soup and pancakes (using leftover batter in the refrigerator). That’s certainly not a meal I would have come up with on my own, but what a blessing to have a husband that’s so easy to please!

  • Thank you for sharing the things you don’t do. It is good to see your balance in your priorities. I have such a hard time feeling accomplished with all the things I don’t do. I hope to get better at it soon. Thank you for sharing your tips on this.

  • Susan says:

    What exactly is the “drugstore game?”

    • Felicia says:

      @Susan, The drugstore game is stratigically shopping the deals at CVS, Walgreens, & Rite-Aid as Crystal (and other bloggers) post every week. Using coupons w/ sales to get back rewards towards your next purchase and doing it all over again. Eventually you get to the point where you hardly pay for anything!

      • Susan says:


        Ah, I should have been able to figure that out.

        I “play” the drugstore game almost every week — just didn’t realize it was called that. We dont’ have CVS around here, but there are Rite Aid and Walgreens stores conveniently located and, fortunately for me, are coupon friendly. I look at the ads each Sunday morning, make a plan, and go to one or the other (occasionally both if there are really great deals at both, but more often than not I’ll just go to one store per week). Unless I’m really off my game, I can get to the store before church, so it really does not cut into our Sunday.

        My favorite Rite Aid restocks every other Saturday, so if they are out of stock with the items I want, too bad. I just let it go. Depending on the item and situation, I may get a rain check. There will always be another sale. My favorite Walgreens restocks on Tuesday nights, so if they are out of stock by the time I get to the store on Sunday, then I may stop in again Wednesday morning on my way to work, but that’s it. I won’t run from store to store or go back multiple times. So I guess that means I only sorta play the drugstore game. 🙂

        This works for me in my current “season’ of life. I get virtually all our personal and household items at Walgreens or Rite Aid for pennies on the dollar, and it’s way less stressful for me than going to Walmart, which I tend to avoid. Shopping at Walmart is more of a major ordeal, or so it seems. Plus, with a kiddo in tow, there’s always begging and whining for stuff at Walmart, where I don’t get that at the drugstores. At Walgreens and Rite Aid, we just stick to the shopping list and get in and out of the store quickly.

  • Katie says:

    THANK YOU. Hurray you are not perfect. I love people that are not perfect, much more scope for the imagination(so much more for God to work with!). I’m definitely work in progress.

    This article needs to be printed and stuck on everyone’s fridge. We are constantly bombarded with articles on perfection – women that have had a baby then five seconds later easing into their size 4 jeans / perfect homes / children / jobs; thank you for a realistic, easily identifible heart warming and down to earth view.

    I have been made to feel inadequate all my life for the choices I have made – constantly fighting against the tide! I truly believe there is a season for all things and as long as you embrace what that season requires then there is plenty of time for house decorating. learning crafts etc.

  • I loved this Crystal. I actually said, “This is SO good” out loud while reading it 🙂

    I enjoyed Amy’s book too. She really gets to the heart of the matter.

  • Rose says:

    Crystal- thanks for this post and listing the things that you do- that really made you so much more transparent and gave me a glimpse at how you spend your time at home.

    I think it is good to realize that we all have different seasons!

  • Kimberlee says:

    Crystal, I have followed you for a several years now and I always find it refreshing when you share what is really going on in your life. It is encouraging to know that you are not supermom. I’m not either.

    I found a long time ago that focusing on my priorities every day makes me happier, makes my family more peaceful and helps me accomplish all that God wants for my life.

    I wrote about my personal priorities here: and I find it is good to re-read them! Have a great day!

  • Rachel says:

    When do you exercise? My kids are up between 5:00 -6:00 so the morning are out. I try to do it with them and the 3 year old loves it but the 1 year old just wants me to hold her. At nap I am trying to clean, pay bills and computer time. By the time they are in bed I am tired and ready for my shower. I know something needs to give but I can not seem to work it out. Would love any suggestions.

    • Catherine says:

      @Rachel, I have the same problem! Kids are up early, and my husband doesn’t come home from work until 8:30 ish. So by the time we eat dinner it’s time for bed. It’s really sad because there’s a huge free gym downstairs in our building 🙁

    • Chelsea says:

      @Rachel, I have an exercise machine I keep in my living room, and I use it whenever I get free time. Even if it’s just 15 minutes here or there, it really adds up. My husband actually encouraged me to do the small increments when I was telling him I had no time at all. Everything helps!

    • Crystal says:

      I try to exercise before the children get up in the morning. But that doesn’t always happen. So, if I don’t get it in before they get up, we do breakfast/morning chores, and then I exercise while the children are in the room with me, playing nearby or watching a DVD. They often like to join in the exercising. And yes, it’s a little chaotic, but we make do!

    • Emily says:

      @Rachel, When I was home with my kids before going back to work, I had a hard time exercising in the house with them around because, like you, I had too much to do during my son’s nap (daughter had already given them up). I got up before them to get my daily shower and didn’t want to get up any earlier to exercise before that. What I used to do was load them up in the stroller (we had a sit and stand so both kids could fit in) and take a nice walk outside each day. Not the most ideal exercise, but still something, and I didn’t need to worry about the kids since they were with me in the stroller. Plus it got us outside each day. Of course, this might depend on where you live and you might miss out on a couple months of the year in the winter time. I went back to work about a year ago, and I really miss those daily walks. Of course, now I find myself wondering the same thing… on earth can I find the time to exercise? A year later and I still haven’t figured it out and, consequently, haven’t exercised in over a year.

      • Rachael says:

        When I’m home with my kids, I take them out for a walk, too. It is easy to squeeze in and I can spend downtime doing other things. It isn’t the most vigorous exercise, but it does work fine for us.

    • Kerry D. says:

      @Rachel, This is a really busy “season” for sure. I teach dance and pilates/yoga, and from what you’ve said, I’ll offer some ideas: I’d put on energetic music, and dance around… lively 2-4 steps forward/backward/ grapevines to one side and the other with baby on the floor (might be entertaining) Throw in some arm gestures for range of motion, and then holding baby in different ways–quite a weight there (sometimes the pilates class does work with hand weights!) holding her close, then out to the front, to the side etc. (unless she’s tooooo heavy, then maybe use water bottles or canned food) Even a little shift of her location will engage different muscles. And definitely, engage the abs while you do this. If you forget, just re engage and it gets easier. About 20 minutes of this and I’ll bet you are dripping sweat and feeling energized. 🙂 When my kids were small, I wasn’t as active, but my upper body strength was amazing from holding them.

    • Joy says:

      @Rachel, Not sure if this would work for you, but here’s what I do. I get up early and exercise before my hubby goes to work. He entertains the kids if they wake up (usually just one is awake). Then I’m done and showered by 7:30.

    • Bernie says:


      I am a member of our local YMCA. It’s only a few miles away and they provide daycare for kids while parents exercise. It cost $55 a month. I get my workout in and my daughter gets to interact with other children.

  • Kimberly says:

    Thank you so much for this. This is exactly what I need at this point in my life. I appreciate it so much!

  • Angie says:

    This series is so timely for me. I really struggle with priorities. Setting them seems to be easier said than done – with me I feel there is disconnect between my short-term and long-term priorities. For example, short-term I want to work less outside the home and spend more time with my kids, but long-term I would like to buy a bigger house, and eventually keep up with my blog more often. Right now, I update my blog very sporadically, but I get great satisfaction when I do it. I’m afraid if I work less outside the home, it will take forever to save up enough money to buy a nicer house. And we need one more bedroom.

    Reading this I realized that I have already set my priorities by my actions, whether deliberate or not. And the section about not going to playgroups hit home, because I right now I’m wondering if I am taking my kids to too many playgroups. Keeping involved in the community IS priority – but does it rank higher than updating my blog, keeping an orderly home, and saving for a bigger house? Based on my actions, it seems it does – but how do I feel about that long-term?

  • Tricia says:

    This was great, Crystal.

  • Melinda says:

    I love your list, and I am going to imitate it! I have been trying to do too much and none of it well. I’ve been trying to do almost everything on both lists and I am exhausted and grouchy and nothing is getting done well. I find it hard to spend time in God’s word, with a baby who still wakes up at night, I don’t want to get out of bed early. I am going to sit down right now and write out my priorities and drop some other balls 🙂
    Crystal God has given you a huge gift and really has blessed my life thru this blog! Thank you

    • Crystal says:

      Just remember not to imitate *me* okay? If something I’ve shared is helpful or encouraging — wonderful! But be sure to do what works best for your own family. Because the last thing I want to do is to put an extra burden on someone to try and be something they aren’t! 🙂

  • Mandi says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Even though you’ve never said that you do any of the things that aren’t on your priority list, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that you do. Thank you for being so honest and painting such a clear picture! I think you will help a lot of women (myslef included) cut themselves some slack.
    Thank you for your blog. You’ve helped our household get our budget in order and allowed us to save so much money! I love the other non-deal posts just as much, though! God bless!

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, I think that’s the problem with blogs. People assume that the bloggers are doing all this stuff they aren’t — and then they feel like they don’t measure up to this false image they’ve created of someone!

  • Melanie says:

    Thank you for writing about your priorities. It was such a strong reminder to me that I need to reconsider what my priorities are. Sometimes it is so easy to loose site of these. I also homeschool and there is so much that takes up a day with 2 children to teach, one active preschooler to keep track of and entertain and a very busy baby to care for. I find myself frustrated so often by the end of the day rather than excited for my husband to come home and being ready to enjoy our time with him. My plan this afternoon while my kiddos are resting is to reconsider my priorities and do exactly what you did, list them and write exactly what each means to me so that I can bring some order and sanity to my life. Thank you again for sharing your heart! God is truly using you to reach others!

  • Jennifer says:

    You stated that you do not do the drug store game. How do you get your hygiene products and household items etc…. for cheap without doing that? I have been getting amazing deals lately at Rite Aid and Walgreens and know that I would be paying lots more if I didn’t play the “game”.

  • Felicia says:

    Love it! Thanks for the giving your readers a glance into your daily life!

  • Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing! I struggle with time management every single day. Lately, I am coming to terms with the fact that because I work and have 2 teenage childern who are pretty busy in terms of needing to be taken to church/school/etc that maybe I should scale back on a lot of extra activities like the ones on your list of things you don’t do. This may not be the season in my life that I sew everything under the sun or have the world’s most decorated house. I need to focus more on what I *am* able to do for my family and not all the things I don’t get done everyday.

  • Lauren says:

    Love this. thank you for sharing!

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am blessed to be able to be my mom’s caregiver. We too, worship the Lord together each morning by praying the Lord’s prayer, confessing our faith, singing hymns and then reading from the bible. It brings to me a peace I carry throughout the day. I find without it my day does not go as well for I don’t feel complete.

    My priorities are clear and I primarily focus on four things; my relationship with the Lord, my mom’s and my health, my relationship with my family and the three chosen goals from my 5-year plan.

    I find taking the time to think through and establish a 5-year plan truly makes everyday life far more productive and less stressful. I keep mindful of the three goals I have chosen from my plan and after I have completed all I need to do in caring for myself, my mom, I work completing those goals.

  • Nicole says:

    Thank you fir this post. I myself am struggling right now with trying to set priorities and stick to then and letting the rest go.
    We have recently gone to an envelope system but I purchase a large percentage of our things online because a) it is often the best deal and b) it saves me time. But I am having trouble figuring out how to make those online purchases using the envelope budget. Do you just leave a certain amount in the bank to cover those purchases?
    Thank you, Crystal!

    • Crystal says:

      If we make an online purchase from one of our cash envelope categories, we just deposit that money from the envelope back into the bank. This helps us to make sure we really need the online purchase/that it’s a good deal and that we also stay within our budget.

      You could also consider getting a pre-paid card to use for online purchases.

  • Kelly says:

    As a new (working outside the home) mama, I’ve been struggling lately with my priorities big time. I really appreciate your post today and on Monday about time management…they were perfectly timed for me. I’m definitely going to pray about what my priorities should be and find more balance in my life, even if it means cutting out some things.

    Thanks for your perspective, Crystal.

  • Tammy says:

    Your priorities are yours and I am glad you wrote to not imitate you.By the time we had children my life did such a dramatic change that if I had not been in a playgroup or a group like MOPS ,a Bible study I would still be depressed!All of my friends were way past the baby/toddler stage when our children came and plus we moved 4 times in 5 years .

  • Stephanie says:

    Thank you for pointing out that you do not do it all. Mine are two, two months and a half time nine year old and right now my priorities are my relationship with my husband, the kids, rest and then the housework and outside activities. If I am exhausted then relationships go down the tubes and if the house is not in ok shape (keeping on top of food, laundry, diapers, garbage and general picking up) then the rest of life is stressful. I would love to wash the walls and baseboards but that is not realistic right now. Our family’s relationships are strong, the kids are well cared for, healthy food is in the kitchen, the house is clean enough to not cringe if anyone comes over (re: walls and baseboards) and everyone has clean laundry and diapers.
    Last night we had people over very spur of the moment and it was fun since the house was generally in fine shape. You are one of the few people I have ever met that doesn’t have kid stuff take over their home, one of our friends with kids commented that we don’t have many toys and another friend added that the toy level looks like her house as a kid with five siblings (she grew up in another country) so I feel like we have it about right.
    I have begun to implement your idea on clothing limits for the kids especially the oldest one since he is well past the spit up/accident stage and it seems to be going well- more stuff is being worn and not sitting untouched in the drawer.
    You are right about not all of your ideas working for everyone but the ideas that have worked for me have been useful and I am grateful to you and your blog.

  • Dona says:

    You mentioned you do not make many homemade gifts, but I recall last year you posting some homemade goodies you packaged up adorably to hand I was wondering if you plan to do that you make homemade goodies to give out? I am about to enter a very tight Christmas so I am really interested in hearing how people on small budgets manage to do this where the love is felt, but the wallet is not emptied.

  • Cate says:

    What a lovely post. It’s interesting to see what your priorities are (and what you DON’T do!) I also try to get the house all picked up at least once a day, even if it doesn’t stay that way for long. I find that I get easily overwhelmed and frustrated when the house is a huge mess all day.

  • Jeannine says:

    A wise older lady once told me to read Titus 2:3-5 and notice the order there. God, husband children, home. If I have those 4 in order than I can work on a few other things.

  • Natalie says:


    One thing that wasn’t on your “Things Which Aren’t On My Priority List Right Now” is watching TV, but I think you had mentioned in the past that you rarely watch it. I know many people watch more TV that they should (including me!) and could be doing more productive tasks instead. However, at the end of the day, after chasing the kids around, making meals, cleaning up, etc…, sometimes the only thing I WANT to do is veg out and sit in front of the TV!

  • Rikki says:

    I have to say that I’ve never commented here before but this post really opened my eyes. I have had an internal feeling of stress and just that I am not doing anything really well. My life may not seem busy to others but I, obviously, am not thriving. So, today I decided everything (but the kids!) can wait and I’m going to really pray about this priority thing and see what God has to say. Because I can not go 1 more day feeling this stress!! Thanks so much!

  • Amy says:

    Awesome post. Thank you for not only telling us what you do but more importantly showing us the things that you don’t do and that are not important to you right now. For me that is more helpful, to know that doing it all is not what’s important.

    I love your home management sheets! I never knew they existed but I’ve just printed them off and am excited to adapt them to work for me and my family and where we are right now.

    Thank you

    • Crystal says:

      The home management sheets are brand-new to the site. 🙂 I’ve been using this system myself for quite awhile and finally decided it worked well enough (and I’d stuck with it long enough!) to share. I’ll be posting more about it next week.

  • Lindsey says:

    I’m SO glad you are posting this series. I agree that we women tend to read certain blogs and often feel inadequate. It is incredibly refreshing to see this very real and personal side of your life. I remember when I first found your blog a long time ago and felt like we were living worlds apart. Now I definitely realize we are not and I very much appreciate you taking the time to really let us into your life. It is a blessing.=)

  • Beth says:

    I really enjoyed your sharing Crystal, glad I am not the only one unable to do it all!
    I was wondering if you or anyone else reading would have any tips for what to do when you have family and/or church members heavily guilting you into doing something you initially said no to? I am more of a shy person but I do say no. However, it seems my no is in a foriegn language or something! My grandparents will comply but usually seek out revenge or get very depressed. I also am involved in a ministry at church that I greatly love but I feel constant guilt to be even more involved and giving of my time. Both parties do their best to make me feel selfish if I don’t help them out and give of even more of my time. Help please! Thanks!

    • Lana says:

      @Beth, I had a hard time saying no when I was younger too. I found that if I talked to my husband and he agreed that I could not take on whatever I was being asked to do I could honestly say that my husband said I could not do it and people really respect that and stop the pressure.

  • Lindsey says:

    P.S. You say you don’t really do play groups, bible studies, etc. How do you get your socialization “fill” for yourself and your children, esp. with homeschooling in the mix? Is it through your large extended family and church friends or do you not feel you and your children really need that right now? I just wonder this because I often feel like I am depriving my preschool children of being around other kids and experiencing regular social time because we often stay home…just us. I also feel like sometimes I am closing myself off by only socializing with certain groups of people (ie Christians with similar views). Not sure if that is healthy or not? Not to mention how difficult it is for me when the only people I see or talk to for days/weeks on end is my husband and my children. So just wondering how this works for you….

    • Crystal says:

      We sort of have our own built-in playgroup with the next door neighbors since our children usually play with them at least two afternoons per week when we’re outside having our afternoon play time. 🙂 We also usually get together with homeschooling friends for a field trip/get together at least once or twice a month, we have other moms/families over at least once per month and we get together with extended family multiple times per week. So, it’s rare that a day goes by that our children aren’t spending time with other children and adults outside our immediate family. 🙂

      Because of this, we don’t really have a need for additional playgroups or Bible Studies because there’s so much built-in community & interaction within our neighborhood, church and extended family. If we were staying home all day by ourselves every day, I’d likely be looking for a group of moms to get together with on a regular basis, because I think it’s good to have frequent interaction with real-life friends.

  • My heart dropped a bit when you said you’d re-evaluate blogging when your kids got older. I understand, but I would be SO SAD! I’ve followed your blog for awhile now and you are an inspiration to me, I always look forward to your updates!

    Now what is this ironing thing you speak of? I think I might have one around here somewhere….(lol, I have to use one when I sew, but otherwise? NO way!)
    I also don’t make my husband’s lunches and I’ve had some people make me feel guilty over it!

    Our don’t and do lists are actually quite similar. Except I make reading and sewing a priority because those are my stress busters! (and um…unfortunately I’m not good at making exercise a priority. Need to work on that big time)

  • Lynette says:

    I was trying to download your cleaning schedule and daily docket, but each time I clicked on the link, Internet Explorer stopped working. Is that a glich with the link or with my computer? Do you recommend a different browser??


  • Thank you so much for including the things that are not on your priority list! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything we want to do and seeing someone say, “NO” is inspiring.

  • Leslie says:


    Great post! I’m curious to know what you and your husband do for at home dates? I get so tired of being at home that I don’t find at home dates exciting even though they are economical and it means we can stay in. I just need some ideas to create a spark for staying home. Would love some ideas!

  • Charlotte says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel so much better about not ironing! Ha! I thought I was the only one…

    Seriously, though, thank you. I read Amy’s e-book last weekend and it has certainly given me a lot to think about. And this list has added to that- you’ve helped me see some of my priorities in a different light.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • Mary Hannah says:

    I loved your idea of having a weekly datenight at home. I think I will begin that with my husband. We haven’t dated in a while because of the cost of child care, but doing it at home would take care of that. What kinds of things do you do? I’m afraid I have only come up with a couple of ideas. Cheap/free home datenights would make a great post! Thanks for any suggestions!

  • Megan says:

    When I first read and reread I thought it said you exercise 4 hours a day. My jaw hit the floor. I read it one more time and am glad I got that cleared up 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Thank you for posting this!!! As women we spend way too much time making sure everyone knows how much we do! We are all secretly wondering how everyone else looks like they are doing it all but we can’t seem to. As a mom of 5 with one on the way, I am often asked how I do it all. Back when I had 2 children I realized that I was frustrated, overwhelmed and angry quite often. Much of my frustration came from always feeling like I didn’t have enough time to get done what I thought needed to be done or be who I thought I should be. One day it occurred to me to quit everything. Every single outside of the home activity I was involved in (outside of church attendance). I decided I would add things back one at a time as I could handle them. It was so freeing!! I was so happy and my kids were relaxed and happy and our home was stress-free! I fought the guilt and feeling like I wasn’t “pulling my weight” or “giving my kids the perfect childhood” because they weren’t getting carted to every activity under the sun. And I found a happier me and a happier them 🙂 Some women can flawlessly handle it all, they can run and work and volunteer and make great meals and keep the laundry up! *I* just wasn’t one of those women. It was all I could do to just keep up without any of those extras. I am so glad I pulled out of the race and can just be ME 🙂

  • This was a wonderful post! I am wholeheartedly in agreement with you that we cannot do everything. I’ve recently had to tell myself that even “good” things aren’t always good for our family. So many things can pull at us and end up distracting us from what the Lord would have us focus (Him, our family and ministering to others).

    Thank you so much for this reminder!

  • Nicole-Lynn says:

    I wanted to say “hello”. I subscribe to your posts via email and enjoy reading your posts on budgeting. I’m not sure if I have ever commented, but after reading this post on time management I wanted to reach out and let you know I really enjoyed reading it. I’m engaged, and will be married in April to my high school sweetheart. I love reading how others spend their time juggling everyday tasks, and still make the time for their God, their relationships and themselves… which is so important.

  • Laurie says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I struggle so much to keep it all together, and I do a lot of your “don’t do” things (extra-curricular kids activities, Bible Study, scrapbook, decorating, I was even crazy enough to head up Bible School this summer!) After thinking about your list vs. my list, I told my husband that my predicament is that I like some of all of it! A little blogging, a little decorating, a little baking . . .and my kids are at the ages that sports/music are pretty important to them!

    This post reminded me to figure out what matters MOST -I really need to think on that one! Thanks for the reminder and for being so transparent – God definitely gives us each different desires and talents. . . hopefully I’ll learn to focus mine 🙂

  • Crystal I have been reading your blog for quite a long time now however I am not sure if I have ever commented. This series is really so timely for me. I have been having an internal struggle for a while now over my lack of discipline and zero time management skills. I have known that something had to be done but just kept putting off the inevitable.

    You inspired me to write a post this morning discussing how things are now and how I really want things to be. For the first time I physically put into words how I would like my daily schedule to go instead of just having no goal whatsoever. I look forward to the rest of this series.

    Now that I have a goal set I will be praying for God to mold me, I know it won’t be easy but for the first time in a while I have faith.

    If you would like you can see the post here. I have directed my readers to your series. Thanks so much!

  • Sarah says:

    Crystal my life is so unorganized and I am so overwhelmed. I don’t even know where to start and it’s becoming a huge problem with my marriage and my parenting what is you’re greatest advice! Please help! ?

  • Angela says:

    Just stumbled across your blog and I have to say that your content is extremely helpful. It’s helped me zero in on what’s important to me and made it easier for me to approach my weekly goals, so I just wanted to thank you for that 🙂

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