Step Back

Your to-do list is long, right? Every single day, more items on the list. Some days you add items faster than you can cross them off!

What can you do?

Step back and remember why you do anything at all.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)

You are not a slave to your planner. You are to love God with every minute of each day. You have a purpose — a beautiful purpose!

So then, even when you take a half step forward and see a list of major responsibilities (also sometimes overwhelming), like those in Titus 2, you are still aware of your ultimate purpose. You love your husband in honor of your God. You practice self-control to bring glory to your Father.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

Now when you look at your long list, remember you buy groceries to feed your family because you love them and you love God. You go shoe shopping for growing feet out of love for your children and your God. This applies to all the dentist appointments and chauffeuring and bill-paying and whatever else shows up on the list for the day.

Sometimes you may need to adjust your list and activities to fit your priorities, but even when they are all spot-on, you need the motivation to fuel your spirit as you walk through the day. Remember today!

Ounce of Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. — Benjamin Franklin

This is a familiar phrase, but what does it mean to you today?

There is truth in that statement, and we could come up with lots of examples from past experience. But often the realization comes after the fact…

Let’s take a few minutes for practical ways to save time and prevent headaches.

Cleaning
A daily routine of base tasks takes a few minutes but saves later when it’s time to deep clean. You won’t be as intimidated by the layers of grime that accumulate, and it won’t take as long to mop because you’ve swept the floor every day that week already. For instance, wiping down the kitchen counter after every meal only takes 1-2 minutes, but it prevents spills from hardening and staining, which saves elbow grease when you formally clean the kitchen.

Putting trash in a trash bag in the car as it appears only takes a few seconds, but the accumulation of trash in a vehicle after a week or two will be a full-blown task to clean-up.

Driving
You have 5 errands to run. Did you take a minute to think through your route before you left? It’s so easy to get 2 down and then realize that the 3rd was closer back a ways or closes in 5 minutes (when you’re 10 minutes away at a red light). Or the moment you realize that you just bought fresh meat and still have 2 stops you must make today… A couple minutes of planning as you pull out of the driveway can save time and gas and frustration.

Don’t be afraid to take a deep breath and make a plan for your next task. The minute or two invested will pay off very soon down the road.

Sharpening Your Ax

If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

So you want to cut down a tree. Is it worth the time to sharpen the ax before you use it? Even if it takes a few minutes and some effort?

ABSOLUTELY!

Please don’t waste your limited energy trying to do hard things without the best tools you can use. When you take a minute to plan the best way to tackle a project, you save time working as well as work itself. Time spent getting a little bit better at different skills will give you sharp tools in your tool box, preparing you for each task down the road.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser… Proverbs 9:9a

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. Proverbs 19:20

The more you know and apply, the better you can do what you need to do. The wiser you are, the better you will be able to know what needs to be done.

Wisdom seeks teaching and absorbs it, and wisdom brings success.

FYI: Simplifying

Following is a collection of links that may be of interest to you related to our current topic. Note, listing does not imply endorsement. Please evaluate for your own situation.

Simply Does It — using resources wisely sometimes means not using them up

Pruning — there comes a time when this would benefit every one of us

How to say “No” — it can be difficult, but there are alternatives

Simplifying your calendar — helpful tips and templates

History — some background on the concept of a simple life

Addition by subtraction

We so often have a hard time saying “No” to anything. That would be admitting that you couldn’t do something, that you’re not Superwoman. Who wants to do that?

Managing your time and responsibilities well will involve saying “No” to some things. They will be good things, but they do not fit. When you are able to look at your options and take out the ones that are not best for today, you are sharpening your focus.

Just like clearing the dinner table before you pull out the homework, clearing your schedule will enable you to better deal with your priorities.

  • You will have the available energy because you are not spending it all before you get to what is truly important.
  • You will have more time to devote to what you need to do because your agenda is not crammed full — too full to do anything well.

Shona Murray addresses this concept, pruning “with the sharp knife of no” on big and small things, in the book Refresh:

With my life purposes in one hand and my limited capacity in the other, I can prune needs and expectations so that I am doing the most important things well and with joy, and I can have a sense of accomplishment as I enjoy some downtime.

Remember, you are the gatekeeper for your schedule. You decide what you need to do. You run your schedule; your schedule should rule you. Flex your muscles, and practice saying “No” today! It is part of using your time wisely, and you will manage your time all the better for it.