More than often I get questions and comments from friends and colleagues such as: “How do you find time to do everything you do?” or my favorite “Do you ever sleep?”
My morning and evening devotions have found their way to focus on this subject here lately. As a result, I’ve felt the urge to write about it.
Finding time, makes it sound like time is this object that is fleeting and always out of our reach, but in fact, its right there, in our hands at all times. Time isn’t fleeting, its the choices that we make to cause it to fly away or be used productively. Time, as well as money, are two things that in reality we have a choice on how to use them. We can use them wisely, or we can waste them. A wise person, saves and uses wisely a fool wastes them on fleeting things.
There is also a very big difference in resting and being lazy. Resting is a refueling, lazy is a waste of resources. Resting comes as a result of hard work and productivity and finding calm. Being lazy, is relying on others and outside sources to provide for us. Do you remember the old story of the Ant and the Grasshopper? The grasshopper mocked the ant for working so hard in the hot summer months, he insisted on singing, playing and being “lazy”. The Ant worked diligently to fill its home with food so it could survive the harsh winter to come. The story has a harsh lesson in the end. The Grasshopper starved, the ant survived.
Here are some of the ways that allow me to focus on what is truly important, I hope they will help you on your journey.
- Wake up early and be consistent throughout the week.
- Morning is very important; how you start it will be the direction of your day. Because of this, I will slowly wake up. Laying in bed until my brain isn’t fuzzy anymore and then start moving to get ready.
- Make your bed. Yes, you read that correctly. Making your bed each morning gives you a sense of accomplishment from the very beginning.
- Daily Devotions and prayer. I start my day with a simple devotion time and prayer to ask for guidance and wisdom in the upcoming day. I also give thanks for having another day and for my husband.
- Keep your clothes simple. Plan the night before what you will be wearing the next day and know what you have to wear. In short, don’t have a department store in your closet or most of it in the laundry basket.
- For those of us who must work outside of the home as well as at home, remember this always. We work to live, not live to work. Your worth is not measured by your job and career. I make sure that my job (as a programmer in the Tech World) has specific hours. I work 40 to 50 (if uncontrolled deadlines are needed) a week. When I am at work, I am at work. I also allow myself a lunch break, which normally I write or take a walk during good weather. Breaks are very important for keeping the mind clear. I also spend the first 10 minutes of every morning, organizing my day with the tasks for that day and moving them along as need be, utilizing an Agile methodology.
- For both home and work I have outlined in a journal of what my goals are for the day, nothing lofty, just what needs to be done. Keep It Short & Simple.
- I keep track of what I spend or earn. This helps me with my budgeting and keeps at the front of my mind to not waste funds.
- At home, I keep a strict rule that home is for home and family. This includes preparing the pantry for winter from our garden and supplementing with items from local farmers. This is how I am able to can fruits and vegetables in season and bake homemade breads and rolls.
- I do not stay “tied” to my phone or computer. I have found that keeping a written bullet journal handy to keep track of my to-do-lists, ‘shopping’ lists, moods, favorite scriptures and other things is better than being “plugged in”. This way I’m not distracted to waste time on other “apps”. I also have found that “helpful” apps are really not helpful at all, in fact they waste time more than anything as you grow to having an obligation to them.
- Shopping: Okay this is a touchy subject. I know that that the grocery apps are becoming a huge thing now days. But convenience creates its own demons. Plan your grocery needs, take the time to go and get only, what is on your list. You will save money and be more prepared. Keep a rule that if you don’t have an item in between runs, you will agree to go without, period. If it is a necessity, say yogurt, make sure you have it on your list to pick up on the grocery run. Keep your runs to once every other week, maybe longer if you can. The time and money saved continues to grow. Also, non grocery shopping apps suck you into spending more money and time then what you really need, they speak to your impulse voice. Its amazing how much you can spend in this way. UNPLUG.
- TV is not a priority. In fact, for us, it’s rarely on with the exception of some news and maybe an old TV show now and then, even then if my husband and I are enjoying the television, I’m knitting, crocheting or sewing while watching. We have also cut the cable cord. This saves us over $100 a month, another frugal tip. Getting rid of TV will save you a ton of time and a ton of stress.
- Understanding your needs versus your wants. Being plugged into the world tends to make it very confusing on exactly what a want and a need really is. Especially when the new car, vacation, food, clothing, personal ads are constantly talking to you, even if you say you don’t pay attention to them, they become that little voice saying you need this, you need this to be popular, to be better, to be wanted. Turn them off. You don’t NEED any of it. By not cluttering your life and not spending more and more money on things (wants) the stress will start to melt away.
- We eat at home with basic ingredients. I have heard the argument that it takes too much time to fix good meals at home. Hogwash! The time and money you spend driving, waiting, eating and driving home, not to mention the health effects on your body, you could have had a much better meal and not spend half the money and the time. If you have a tight work schedule, then meal-prep on the weekends. Plan ahead for the week with a schedule. This will also help you save money. Oh, and make your morning coffee at home don’t hit the drive-through. The money you spend on a good coffee maker and a travel mug, is pennies compared to the monthly cost of that daily/multiple coffee shop run.
- Enjoy the moment. Instead of worrying about what you need to do tomorrow. Schedule your week so you can sit back and enjoy the moment with the ones you love. Now, when I say schedule your week, this DOES NOT MEAN DOWN TO THE SECOND! Keep your load light, make room to enjoy life as life comes to you. Do NOT over schedule. Especially, if you have children. Do not schedule an event every night. Set limits for you and for them. Take in a board game, enjoy conversation, a walk, and do chores together.
- This one goes with not over scheduling your time. If you can’t give it at home, then don’t give it away somewhere else. What does this mean? If you are too busy to cook for your family, don’t volunteer to bake for the bake-sale. If you don’t have enough money to buy your kid’s school supplies, don’t go out with friends to dinner and or a bar.
- Pack your lunch and prepare your breakfast the night before. This way there is no rush and no temptation to hit the fast food place on the way to where you are going.
- Tidy up before bed. Make sure the dishes are done, items are put away. When you take care of things as they arise, the job is not near as daunting.
- Now here is the big one: REST. Yes, REST. Take some time to unwind, read a calming book or an evening devotion. UNPLUG, do not pick up that phone or tablet before bed, it stimulates the brain.
- Go to bed “early”. We try to be in bed between 9 and 9:30 pm each night, this means we easily obtain 7-8 hours of good sleep before we start all over again. A good night’s sleep is important for your body to refuel and repair. It’s directly tied into your mood, weight, stress levels and energy. Get some good rest.
I know this really sounds like a lot, but it all falls into place easily. I’ll be writing more about bullet journals in the future, but keeping these are a wonderful way to stay organized. It also helps me to remember what I did several days back.
Enjoy, and until next time.
Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice