Practical Ideas for Time Management

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When we feel out of balance, time management may not  be the real problem. The real problem may be that we’re not managing other things well. This, in turn, causes everything to take longer than it should. Now that we’re headlong into the school year, it’s a good time to evaluate how things are going with a few challenging questions. Don’t let this exercise make you feel guilty. Instead, feel empowered. You’re a wise, strong mom. You can handle healthy self-examination.

Am I managing the mundane? In I Corinthians 14.33 

Our God is not a God of disorder. Commentators agree that Christ’s religion promotes order and calm in the church, so I like to think that’s true for the home too. Disorder at home leads to a loss of peace and precious time. How much time do we waste searching for items we use regularly, like keys, scissors, and band-aids? How often are we late to church or appointments because we don’t lay out clothes the night before or allow for traffic? Have you ever had to race to the store for toilet paper or search for coins in the seat of the car to pay for the toll road you travel regularly? Hey, we all experience confusion occasionally, but chaos on a daily basis because we don’t manage simple, predictable needs can truly be avoided.

  • Take thirty minutes on Sunday to map out your week with a calendar (I use Day-timer Family Plus).
  • Pick a drawer or box and declare it sacred for your own set of office supplies, quarters, and nail clippers.
  • Organize the entryway of your home with baskets and hooks.
  • Provide a tray for everyone in the family to place their schoolwork and mail.
  • Ten minutes of choosing clothes or making lunch in advance will give you ten minutes with God in the morning. Planning ahead and being organized are essential if you want to find balance.

Am I managing mealtimes? Proverbs 6.6-8   OK Studious Moms. If ants can plan, so can we!!!  There is power and blessing in well-planned meals and time to eat as a family. Having raised my family at a boarding school the past sixteen years, I regret how much time we spent eating with 500 other people. We would have been better off eating more meals in our own dining room. Even still, before we had a dining hall, I was preparing food for eight people every single day

  • One of the best things I ever did for a season was prepare two weeks of entrees at a time. I didn’t have a deep freezer so I froze the food flat in gallon bags. Two Saturday mornings a month Joe would occupy the children while I browned ground beef, boiled and roasted chicken, then seasoned it with Italian sauces, Mexican and Chinese spices,  or lemon pepper seasonings. I also froze cooked pasta, rice, and potatoes. This is a homemade, cheap version of convenience food. Add a vegetable and you have a meal. It is also a great way to have foods ready to share with others in need.
  • If this is too overwhelming for you, you can use a crock pot or fix part of your dinner in the morning so you are not stressed in a hot kitchen at the end of the day.
  • Double every meal you fix and freeze the second portion for next week.
  • Bottom line: dinner happens every day so we should all know what we are going to eat and when.

Am I managing my minions? Proverbs 17.21 – If we can manage our children well and train them to work, we are steering them away from foolishness and saving ourselves time. And let’s be honest, sometimes we moms make life harder for ourselves because we are so determined to make life easy for our children. Those able-bodied youngsters need to be working around the house as soon as they’re old enough to put toys in a basket.

  • Develop a chore system that will work for your family and start today. Toddlers can empty waste cans and spray clean the bathroom.
  • I used to empty the fridge and let the little kids get inside it to wipe it down while I cleaned the shelves at the sink.
  • Get a step stool and teach children how to wash their own clothes. If this is too scary for you, show them how to wash the linens.
  • When my children were growing up, Saturday morning was spent cleaning every drawer in their dressers, clearing under the beds, and straightening their closets.
  • You don’t have to be a drill sergeant to grow children who are hard workers. Come alongside your children and make cleaning fun. Go from room to room, cleaning up together. Set a timer and challenge them to pick up as many things as they can in one minute. Then do it again!
  • Ask everybody to pick up twenty things. In a room full of legos and crayons, that’s a huge accomplishment!
  • Older children should be expected to oversee younger siblings so you can run errands. They should be learning to cook, do yard work, and wash the car. And don’t misunderstand, my young adult children are just as messy as they always were. I had to go on strike this summer when I came home from work to dirty dishes and four grown people waiting for me to cook. The point is, they know how to cook and clean and they have to learn to manage their time too. By having expectations for them, I can maintain the balance I need. Do I pay them? Yes. In food and shelter.

Am I taking a day to rest? Genesis 2.1-3 – There are no laws for Sabbath observance for Christians, but God’s use of his time suggests that taking one day in seven to rest from work is good and necessary. We all need a regular time to recover from our busy lives by worshipping God and working for him one day a week.

  • This may mean eliminating sports or shopping on Sundays.
  • It may mean cutting back on church activities that deplete you more than they fill you up.
  • Serve as God is leading your family, perhaps visiting the elderly or sick, or taking time to write notes to missionaries. This is Christ-centered “work” on the Lord’s Day and it refreshes your spirit.
  • There are a lot of wonderful resources on the internet about how to make Sunday a day of delight. Waking your family to the smell of cinnamon rolls, gathering around the Bible together, or watching a Christian movie are just a few ways to let your children know that Sunday is a gift from God.
  • Don’t allow the enemy to convince you that the more you move, the more you will accomplish. We are spiritual beings and our inner woman needs time for rest and renewal. Build this into your life and into the lives of your children through naps, and time to read and reflect.

Proverbs 14.1 says that a wise woman builds her house, but a foolish woman plucks hers down. This idea of plucking — one little thing at a time — really speaks to me about the value of managing the recurring activities in our homes. You can do this!! Write to me and let me know how it’s going thestudiousmom@gmail.com

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