Good Ideas: 30/30 App

We’ve talked before about how important and how helpful routines are in our daily and weekly lives. Well, here is an app for that! A friend shared this great idea, and it has been fun to play around with the 30/30 app* since then.

fullsizeoutput_e65The tool lets you have routines pre-set and ready to hit Play on the timer. Each routine has its own folder, so you can create one for first thing in the morning, one for after lunch, one for major house cleaning, one for office work, etc.

You build the routine as individual task blocks, in order, with a set time for each. You can change the order or skip a task, as your daily needs change. The editing is quite easy, and then you’re ready to use it!

The prompts/alarms will let you know it’s time to move on to the next thing, which will help keep you motivated. You also won’t need to keep checking the clock to time yourself as you go.

fullsizeoutput_e68However, life isn’t always ideal. There is a pause button, if you need to take a break for an urgent phone call or to bind up a wound, so flexibility is built in for you. If you are running ahead of schedule, you can move on to the next task with just one touch. If you have a tight schedule one day, you can shorten the pre-set time with one touch also.

fullsizeoutput_e66You are able to change settings for each routine, giving you even more control over your plan. If you are running multiple loads of laundry, you can set an auto-loop to remind you to switch loads every hour. If you are working at a desk, you can set the loop to remind you to get up and walk around every hour also.

This app would be good for those who struggle to stay on task and avoid distractions. It will also be helpful in building habits that you would like in your day. Planning out the order and time slots, and then walking through them, will help you thoughtfully create habits that help you make the best use of time.

_________________________________________________

fullsizeoutput_e63How exactly might you do this? Well, let’s talk through an example. The image on the left is an illustration of one possible morning routine. If you would like to start each day with devotions first, you can put that at the top of the list (pink box in the example). As soon as you wake up and get settled in your spot, you pull up the Morning set in the app and hit the Play symbol. You can forget about watching the clock now and enjoy the focused time with God and in the Word.

When it is time to get moving and get breakfast (green box) ready, the timer will go off. Off you go, with a new timer running to keep you on track.

If you finish breakfast a few minutes early, no problem. Tap the done button, and your timer will move to the next task, Get Ready (red task). Into the shower you go.

Once you are ready for the day and/or the timer has gone off, you switch to planning mode (yellow task). Now is your time to focus on the day and schedule and immediate priorities so you know what your path is intended to be for the day.

Finally, you move on to the last task, your daily cleaning routine for the morning. You are racing the timer to get the maintenance work done, but the neighbor called right in the middle of wiping down counters. You press Pause to handle the rescheduled carpool schedule, then press Play to resume your routine. Now when the timer goes off, you know you’ve done what you needed to and it is time to tackle your plan for the day.

______________________________________________________

Enjoy!

* Unfortunately, the app described here is only available for Apple devices. There is a similar app for Android called Do Now.

What To Do When

Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Why on earth would you work outside before building yourself a house?

Well, you can live in a tent while you till and plant, and then you have a home-building project to keep you busy while you wait for the crop to ripen. Now you have a house and a harvest. The other way around leaves you hungry in a cozy home.

The order you work on projects, or tasks, or toward goals, matters most of the time.

Stagger your progress. If I know I have to make brownies and take a shower before heading to a party, wouldn’t it make sense to mix up the brownies first? Then I can get ready while the brownies bake.

If you have multiple steps for a project and you know you will have to wait on others along the way, plan out when you will do each one and where you will have to wait. Get the ball rolling, and then you can turn your attention to other priorities while you wait for a response. After you get what you need in response, move to the next step until you have to wait again. You will be able to keep moving along your timeline and tend to other tasks at the same time.

For another simple example, we can get a lot done in between running loads of laundry, but we do have to put a load in the washing machine to start. But if we wait until it has to be done to put it in, we’re looking at a frustrating wait.

Taking a minute or two to think through the overall plan will pay off for you. Stepping back to look at the big picture will help you cut out the unpleasant surprises and unexpected delays that will prevent you from accomplishing your goal on time. Making a plan and walking through steps in the best order will pay off for you.

Share the Joy

Remember when we talked about pruning your to-do list? Well, there is another way to keep your task load in good shape.

Keep in mind that responsibility doesn’t always mean doing it with your own hands.

  • If your time can be better spent elsewhere and your budget allows, use a grocery pick service or even delivery service.
  • You may like how your dishwasher loading system works, but would your call to love your children include training them in that particular chore and responsibility?

An excellent help in looking for delegation opportunities can be found in your husband and/or your boss. Taking a step back and getting a wider view can make a big change in your perspective. They see what you can’t, right in the middle of each day.

  • If your husband values your time more than a cooked-from-scratch meal (and, again, your budget allows), perhaps sandwiches or (relatively) healthy takeout should be in the weekly meal plan more often. A walk together before dinner might be a better use of your time.
  • Are you spending a large percentage of your day doing something that is really someone else’s responsibility or could be easily transferred? Check. Your boss may rather you do what only you can do. You may add more value and more excellent work by eliminating that task from your list.

Delegation can be good, not an automatic failure. Yes, this can take an investment in money or training, but the goal would be one less task for your every day and time freed up for what is most valuable and can serve God best with your time.

Procrastination and Chaos

Remember when we talked about a quiet life? Well, let’s spend a few more minutes on that idea.

Let’s talk about the things that you put off, the stuff you need to do but don’t want to deal with right now, the tasks you aren’t excited about so you don’t make time or plan time to do them, the jobs you’re hoping will magically just get done. You know, THAT stuff.

Here’s the thing: putting anything off until the last minute makes it much more likely that completing it will cause turmoil and disturbance. That chaos may be in your emotions or your day or in the work that is done or all three, but it will show up somewhere.

Procrastinating something you don’t like will also mean you have no flexibility to fit work in comfortably or be more creative (or even awake). Once you get down to the deadline, it has to be done — and fast. No room to maneuver and no time for anything else.

Sometimes we put things off because they are looming like a little black rain cloud over our heads, a constant presence. Other times, we put things off to another day and then forget. We forget until the crucial moment, that is, when it becomes a shocking and/or embarrassing surprise. Once you know it needs to be done, taking a minute or two to make a plan, with action steps if needed, to get it done at the right time saves you the headache of forgetting down the road. Even if you decide not to do anything for two months, the entry on your calendar in two months prevents it from falling off the radar.

Finally, because procrastination was the plan, you will feel all the painful results of not planning. You will waste mental energy reacting rather than calmly working the plan. You will generate confusion, because you’re not sure what you are doing and when.  You will not be making the best use of your time, and that lack of success is discouraging.

Hopefully seeing the dark side will be motivate you to stay on top of plans and priorities. Taking the time in advance pays off by cutting out these downsides. Don’t get caught with a mess on your hands.

Contentment

Are you content?

Handling all your responsibilities day in and day out can be draining. Feeling drained can quickly tempt you to be discontent.

Fantastically beautiful pictures on social media and stories from friends about things they are doing, or things they have that you don’t have, can add up quickly as well.

Do you want what you don’t have today? Do you want a different life?

If so, then as Esther Engelsma says in How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom?, “it is time to strive for contentment.”

When we are happy with the gifts God has given us, we witness to the world that He is a good God. This glorifies Him. When we are not content with what He has given us, we witness to the world that we think He is not a good God, that He does not have the best interests of His people in mind, and that we don’t trust Him to make us happy.

Satan uses this issue of contentment to try to take God’s glory away.

So how do we fight back and glorify God and love Him with all that we are?

We trust God. We show quiet confidence in our Father, knowing that He loves us and has planned good for us in whatever our life holds. We remind ourselves of who He is and the promises He made that He will absolutely keep. We make ourselves stronger for the fight by feeding on His Word. We practice gratitude by thanking Him for what He has given us.

We obey God. We do the work he has called us to today. We love those He has placed in our lives. We follow the path of wisdom, knowing that God has given the best directions. We get up and move and get it done, even when we’d rather have a pity party or take a (very long) break.

We obey God all day long and then trust His wisdom when the allotted 24 hours runs out, knowing that He created the day and night, the work and rest cycle, and that only God can do everything.

It is as basic as “Trust and Obey” for this.