We’re only a month into the new year. As the last of our New Year’s Resolutions die a painful death, what better time to commit ourselves to being intentional with our time. In our society, in our workplaces, even in our homes, there are so many things vying for our attention. How are we supposed to get anything done–and done well– if we can’t focus on one thing at a time?
Here’s what a typical day might have looked like for me last year:
- I hop out of bed and onto the computer to check emails/Facebook/etc. I really should prepare breakfast, but it’ll be okay if the kids have cereal–again. I continue to work on some blog stuff, stopping to check Facebook/email a few times. The kids want to do their morning chores, but they need my help. “Just wait.” Finally, I get off the computer about 45 minutes later than I had planned, and the work still isn’t done.
- We rush through our chores so that we can start homeschool. The girls are about as unfocused as I am as I check Facebook for “just a minute” and then text my mom on my phone.
- No sooner do we get through only a couple of subjects and it’s time for lunch.
- School takes up the rest of the afternoon, and we’re lucky if we get it all done.
- Time for dinner, but–doh!–I forgot to set out meat to thaw. Guess we’re ordering pizza again.
- Pizza arrives and we sit down in the living room. The kids watch TV while I try to get some more work done before my husband gets home and chastises me for being on the computer too much (Hello! I’m an editor/writer/social media consultant–where else would I work?)
- After the kids are in bed, I settle on the couch to work, but then decide that the show on TV is more interesting. I’ll work during commercials.
How did that day look to you?
For me–it was nothing but one big mess. Nothing gets done, at least not anything of quality. I may have touched on housework, homeschool, and work, but I wouldn’t have said there was much progress or depth to any of it. I let technology–computer, phone, TV–get in the way of what needed to be accomplished. My family and home were not my priority. And I suffered because of it–and so did my family.
I cried out desperately to God because I knew that things needed to change. We needed a better lifestyle. I asked, and God answered. Through prayer, His word, and discussions with my husband, I prepared to change our lives.
And it all began with these steps:
- I used that schedule map I laid out in my last four posts to determine the right schedule for my family.
- I assigned each area of my life certain time frames, while being flexible and allowing some “me time” as well.
- I changed the environment for certain projects to ensure that each area of my life got the proper focus and attention. For instance, I work as much as I can from my office so that TV, phone, and family are not distracting me. This doesn’t always work if mine and my husband’s schedules don’t mesh–but I’m much more productive in my office.
- I realized what a time waster the internet was and scheduled time to enjoy/work on it so that I’m not constantly distracted. Yes, because of my work, I do still get on a few times throughout the day, but when I’m doing something else, i.e. homeschool, I’m focused on that.
- Right now, I have a daily checklist of tasks that I need to complete at different times of the day. In the morning, I need to clean out the dishwasher, toss in a load of laundry, and make sure there’s meat defrosting. In the afternoon, I make sure the load of laundry is finished and folded and that the kids and I pick up from our day before dinner. This is a physical list that I can check off until it becomes a habit.
These simple steps have made a world of difference for us. My family and I are happier. My house is cleaner. My work is more focused. Is every day perfect? No. But it’s better.
Intentional was the word God gave me for 2014–and I plan to make it a part of my life. I also want to leave you with this verse as encouragement:
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Is. 40:28-31 NKJV)
Ralene Burke @ Making Your Work SHINE!