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Time Management

“Look carefully then how walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, 
because the days are evil.”  
Ephesians 5:15-16
One part of being a Keeper of the home is that a Keeper strives to manage the time she is given as best she knows how. The Bible has a lot to say about managing one’s time wisely.  In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 is devoted to the concept of time.  Verse one opens, “There is a time for everything and a season for everything under heaven.”    EVERYTHING requires some amount of time.  EVERYTHING.  Nothing we do can be done without the concept of time. So, it’s not a matter of whether it takes time or not, it’s a matter of how we’re going to use this time we’ve been given.
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you.  God gives us our priorities.  Who should be first on the list?  God.  What should we pursue first with our time?  His righteous.  What about all that other stuff…such as what you will wear to today or eat for lunch?  If we have our priorities in order, God will take care of the rest.  His Word says so.  So let’s get started organizing our time so we can better seek His kingdom and His righteousness.
1.  Make a list of priorities/goals.  With whom do you want to spend the most time?  How many nights do you want to have at home for family time?  Out with friends?  Dating your hubby?  Or some other event?  List them in order of priority.  What skills/talents do you want to develop/utilize this year?  Do you own a home?  If som, how important is the upkeep to you and what time are willing to devote for that upkeep?  Make a list of any specific health, family, occupational, financial, home, educational, spiritual, or hobby goals that you’d like to address in the next year.  Anne Ortland explains in her book The Gentle Ways of a Beautiful Woman: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Beauty that  “..long-term goals set the course of where you want to go, under His plans [while] short-term  goals keep redirecting you to stay on course, and your daily scheduling is the discipline to get you there, with God’s glory and rewards when it’s over.”  So start with some long term goals.  If you need some help, Elizabeth George provides a good place to start in her book A Woman After God’s Own Heart®.  Her list begins as follows:  1)  God, 2)  Husband, 3)  Children, 4)  Home, 5)  Self, 6)  Ministry, 7)  Other Activities.  She uses this list for every decision she makes.  She knows that if the possibility of making a new commitment would get this order out of whack, it’s not God’s design for her to take that commitment. What a relief to know you have a resource now to help you better say “no” to the upteenth activity someone has asked you to participate in.  “Sorry.  It just doesn’t fit my list of priorities right now.  Thank you.”
2.  Make a list of your current commitments and analyze them.  How do they line up with your list of priorities/goals you created in step one?  Do you see something need to eliminate or an area you need alter to better fit your priorities?  If they don’t exactly line up like you’d like, what can you give up?  Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People describes time as four quadrants.  In quadrant one there are all those time pressing unexpected events such as deadlines, meetings, pressing issues or even crisis situations.  Quadrant two is where all the planning, preparation, prevention, relationship building, and personal development time factors have a major play.  Quadrant three then eats up that quality time with mail, interruptions, and social media interaction.  Finally, comes quadrant four which is filled with excessive tv/game usage, some lengthy “just talking” phone conversations, and other time wasters.  Covey’s conclusion when analyzing our priorities to time for effectiveness:  try to keep as many activities in quadrant two and as few activities as possible in quadrant four.
3. Make a schedule.  Create an order of events or a routine that you AND your family can follow.  Yes, it does need to be somewhat time oriented for the benefit of all.  Think Nanny 911.  What’s one of the first thing she usually does when entering a client’s home?  She creates a schedule for them.  It’s beneficial to both parents and children alike.  Everyone likes to know what to expect.  Keep in mind as you create this schedule though that you need to include some time for yourself.  Proverbs 31:17 says, “She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong.”  So, even the Proverbs 31 lady took time to exercise and prepare herself so she could take care of her family and serve others.
4.  Make a Task Notebook.  I will provide more detail on this in a future post, but to give an overview, a task notebook is a way to organize tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly activities so that you can keep track of when to complete an item such a when to clean out coils on your refrigerator or check the fire alarm batteries, just to name a few.  In my Task Notebook I also keep track of my family’s birthdays and anniversaries and other special holidays or events.  It’s my go-to for every day living.
5.  Keep one master calendar for the whole family.  You can choose to create an online calendar with hosts such as yahoo or Google.  Or, you can have a small pocket purse calendar.  It could be a large refrigerator calendar or even a calendar of post it notes.  Just make sure you have a calendar everyone can go to and everyone can see that is kept up-to-date.  I personally like my online calendar because I can view it both on my computer and my smaller electronic devices such as my iPod Touch.  My husband can also view it on his computer and I can easily print off a hard copy to put on the refrigerator at the beginning of the month for the kids to look at too.  In addition, I like the ease it provides in assigning each family member a different color of ink so it’s easier to visually see where everyone will be at a certain time.  But, it’s up to you.  Everyone’s personality and resources are different.  Find what what works for you and your family and stick to it.
That’s it.  If you follow these five steps, you are well on your way to organizing your time.  Just remember, above all, our goal as Keepers is to place God at the top of our priority list.  If we do that then everything else will begin to fall into place.  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understand will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 4:7)Related Articles:


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