It is important to have some structure to your day and have an idea of what you need to accomplish. Watch this video on how I use my whiteboard to keep me organized and remain on task. What tools do you use to help you remain on task for the day?
Each day I have a God given purpose and I must be intentional about fulfilling it. Having a schedule helps me to effectively manage my time, be more focused and provides direction for my day. It brings a sense of order and discourages me from being lazy and idle. “Winging” it every day leads to unproductivity and lots of frustration. With all that said, below are some important tips to consider to help you create a schedule that works for you.
- Have I asked God what my schedule should look like?
We are good at bringing God only the “big” things. However God has specific tasks for us to accomplish each day, which is part of the bigger picture for His purpose for our life. Take the time and ask the Lord what your schedule should look like. This means that you will have to spend time in prayer. Trust me when I say this is not a small matter, seeking the Lord’s face on what you should do and when you should do it makes for a more productive day.
- Ask yourself, “What part of the day am I most energetic and focused?”
Knowing the answer to this question helps you to prioritize doing the most difficult task when you have the most energy. For example I am totally a morning person so I do most of my cooking and cleaning in the morning. If I wait until the evening, I am absolutely drained and the quality of the completed task is greatly compromised because I am tired. I reserve the evening for doing homework with the children, giving them face time and less demanding household task. So often we get annoyed with our children because we see them as distracting us from our work. However when we are careful with our planning, some of this frustrations can be eliminated. I have six children so I realize that even with careful planning, some children are needier than others but a schedule is a great start
- Which tasks do I need to do every day and which ones should be done once a week?
Having established routines is important and it helps to take away a lot of the guess work out the day. I not only answer this question for myself but I also include the children in the process. They also have things that they must do on a daily and weekly basis. Established routines helps to set clear expectations for everyone in the home and minimizes a lot of frustration and repeating of oneself. Note: notice how I said a lot of the frustration and not all….children and adults alike know how to get you to repeat yourself…amen. When you are trying to establish a routine, be prepared to hit repeat over and over again. PRAYEFULLY everyone will eventually catch on to the routines. Be patient and BREATHE!
- Schedule in some me time.
This is so important to do. My me time may just be 30 minutes on some days and 1 hour another. However as a stay at home mom I can become resentful about doing for everyone else and not for myself. I had to get over feeling like this was selfish, it is needed. I typically have my me time while the younger ones are napping. During this time I pick something that will refresh me in some way. It may be browsing Pinterest and admiring all the projects that I can’t fit in my schedule (just keeping it real here folks)…nothing wrong with a little dreaming. I may take a nap, give myself a pedicure or call a friend. But again, this is something just for me.
- Ask yourself, “What are some things that can take me off schedule? In other words, what things distract me throughout the day? What parameters can I put in place to hold me accountable? “
Let us be real with ourselves when answering this question. I know that surfing the internet can be a huge distraction for me and totally take me off schedule. To combat this issue, I put certain parameters in place. I may set a timer to remind me that it is time to get off or I may deliberately wait until I know I have only a limited time because I have to go somewhere. This restricts my time and I have no option but to get off.
During the school year, I try not to turn on my cell phone until I have completed most of my necessary tasks. Having the phone on first thing in the morning can be a HUGE distraction because there is someone or something that is demanding your attention. There are times when I do have to turn it on in the morning when I leave the house. However, I turn it off once I get home because if anyone really needs to get in touch with me, they can call the house phone. I also don’t have Facebook or other social media notifications coming to my phone because it is so easy to get drawn in. Since I am a blogger, I get on Facebook most days to see if I need to respond to any comments from my posts. I try to restrict my time and may only visit my page on some days.
There are times when the unexpected happens and I have to forgo my schedule and deal with the issue at hand. There are also days in which the Holy Spirit takes me off schedule and leads me in a different direction. I try to yield to His voice. So while I promote a schedule, I also encourage you to not hold too tightly to it and miss the voice of the Holy Spirit. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a schedule? What are some of the things you consider when creating one? Do you think that having a schedule is helpful?
Psalm 37:5 (NLT)
At the beginning of the year my husband told me that one of our family goals was to get to church before it starts. Yeah we were pretty much that family that showed up in the middle of praise and worship and sometimes later. He is not late for his job and the children are not late for school he reasoned. The Lord wanted us to have a renewed perspective on going to worship as it is more important than a job or school. Point well taken Pastor Tyrone. I will say it is a lot of work but with more deliberate planning on my part it can be done. Hear me when I say that I write this post not as an expert or as someone who has mastered all of this. I am in the thick of things here folks but I have found that consistently implementing the following steps has helped us to be punctual.
1. Washing and combing the girls hair can be very time consuming. With that in mind I now try to wash and comb the two older girls hair on Saturday. This way I just have to focus on Faith’s hair on Sunday morning. No more playing beauty shop on Sunday mornings.
2. Select and iron clothing for children and adults midweek. This is a huge time saver. When I say select clothing I mean everything, including accessories (tights, socks, belts, etc.). Make sure the tights you thought would work don’t have holes in them, not fun to find this out on Sunday morning. Even with a designated spot to put them, shoes can quickly go missing from our shoe closet downstairs. Tyrone has made it a point to get the younger two boys church shoes and put it in their rooms as opposed to the regular shoe closet. This way we don’t run the risk of searching for missing shoes as we are heading out the door.
3. Fill your vehicle with gas during the week, don’t wait until Sunday morning.
4. We also try to make sure everyone completes their homework either on Friday or Saturday. This way we don’t have to stress about signing papers or completing homework before or after church. I realize that this may change as the kids get older and their homework becomes more difficult. However at this point in the game we are trying to teach them to prioritize and prayerfully these lessons will stick.
5. Restock the diaper bag with pampers, change of clothes and wipes the night before. In the morning, I have a designated child pack snacks for the younger ones and fill the sippy cup. He is also instructed to take the bag immediately to the van once the task is completed, ensuring that we do not leave the diaper bag behind.
6. Get to bed at a reasonable hour. We try not to entertain the mindset of ” oh it’s the weekend so we can stay up as late as we want.” We don’t allow the children to stay up late on school nights so the same holds true for the night before we go to worship. Our service starts a little later but we try to have breakfast together on Sunday mornings and we also have to travel a distance for church. We are not mommy and daddy kill joy so the kids may stay up one or two extra hours later but we encourage them to get a good night sleep.
7. I aim to get up at least a hour before the entire family on Sunday morning. This means I have to be wise about what time I go to bed on Saturday night. During this hour I cook dinner. Don’t be too impressed, I try to make my Sunday dinner as simple as possible and make the oven do most of the cooking. I do not try new recipes on Sundays. I stick to what I know and what I do well. Sunday is the day for whole roasted chicken, ribs, roast, etc. I like to slow cook my meats so I put it in first thing in the morning and by the time we are ready to leave for church 4 hours later, I can take dinner out the oven and put it in the fridge. I also aim to prepare sides that require minimum work like oven roasted sweet potatoes or steamed vegetables. It takes me approximately 30 minutes most mornings to prepare a nutritious Sunday dinner. We sometimes choose to eat out on Sundays as a special treat but this is an exception not the rule.
8. We have a departure time in mind. This sounds simple but it really is needed. If you have the mindset that we will leave when we can, it doesn’t give you a goal to work toward. Announcing to the older children what time we want to leave helps to keep them on track and keep us all on the same page.
With six children 11 and under things won’t always go as planned but the above steps have helped to minimize a lot of frustrations on Sunday mornings.
What are some things your family does to prepare for Sunday Worship?
Before I begin with part two of this series I have to share that the highlight of decorating my home this year for Christmas was spray paint. Yes spray paint! I was impressed by this blog and all the things she spray painted. I decided to give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised.
In part one of this series, I mentioned ways to decorate our hearts for Christmas. Today I pick up where I left off. Joseph did not reason he responded…with IMMEDIATE OBEDIENCE. Mathew 1:24 says when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of The Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife. There is much to be said about immediate obedience. If I think on something too long, the crazier it seems, and the less likely I am to respond in obedience. If you know God is speaking to your heart, just do it. A lack of response shows our inability to trust God. How can we really serve Him if we don’t trust Him?
Not only did Joseph respond with immediate obedience but the scripture says that Mary remained a virgin until her son was born. As a husband, Joseph sacrificed his rights for sexual intimacy in order for God’ plan to be fulfilled. He was willing to wait and did not insist on his rights. Sacrifice is such a foreign concept in today’s culture. It is all about our rights. We worship at the alter of, “Me myself and I.” The idea of sacrifice is scoffed at, our will is glorified…hence the great chaos in our lives and this world. If you have chosen the way of the cross, sacrifice is mandatory. But no need to mourn because when you sacrifice for Jesus it is always redemptive. Always! It was necessary for Jesus to be born to a virgin and his birth set in motion God’s redemptive plan mentioned in Genesis 3:15, how awesome is that?
Finally after the child is born Joseph named him Jesus just as he was instructed to d0 in Mathew 1:25. Joseph said yes and stuck to the plan from start to finish, down to the very name. Sometimes we start our journey with Jesus having a complete yes but as time goes on we get creative. We begin to do what God has called us to do in our own way, our own strength, we put our own twist to His plan. There is no such thing as partial obedience. Carefully follow All of God’s commands. Have you deviated from the plans God has given you? Repent, ask for mercy and get on track.
My prayer is that we will have a desire for more than beautifully decorated homes this Christmas. A heart decorated with obedience is sure to shine bright! Be blessed!