Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not Enough Time In Your Day???

All of us have the same amount of time each day - 24 hours. How we use that time often determines the quality of our lives. Here are some tips to make the most of the time you are given in order to have a peaceful and lovely home.

1) Pray - Take some time each morning to come before God and get your "marching orders." Ask Him to guide you as you go through your day. Tell Him your concerns, your plans, and your desires. Then allow Him to determine how your day will go according to His will, not yours. Be willing to accept interruptions that may be opportunities for ministry sent by God. Be willing to be flexible. Be willing to work hard. But most importantly, be in relationship with Him first. (Psalm 127:1 - Unless the Lord builds a house, it's builders labor in vain.)

2) Don't be idle - Work before play!! This is hard for all of us bloggers who love to spend hours in front of our computer, checking in with all our favorites. Or for those of us who get sucked in by television for hours on end. Be it reading a novel, talking on the phone or window shopping, all of these activities serve only to entertain ourselves, not to bless our families. When we operate in this mindset, we may feed ourselves, but we neglect our husbands, children and home. Get busy! If you have things that you know need done, determine to do them before you allow yourself to be mindlessly entertained. Perhaps it would be helpful to set guidelines for yourself, i.e., "I will work on this project for 2 hours before I take a break for myself." Or maybe decide in advance that you won't check your computer or turn on the tv before a set time each day. (Proverbs 31:27 - She looks well to the ways of her householdand does not eat the bread of idleness.)

3) Delegate! - You aren't the only one living in your house, you know. If your children are not helping you out (in an age-appropriate way, of course) then you are making a bigger mistake than you may realize. Not only are you taking on an unnecessary burden, you are depriving your children of the opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves. Too many families I know don't require anything of their children in the house, reasoning that they need to focus on school. Yes, that's true, but at some point these same children will be on their own and it is up to us to train them how to run a home. Laundry, cooking, cleaning - all these things can be learned now so that when the time comes, they will be prepared for their adult life. (Proverbs 22:29 - Do you see a man skillful in his work?He will stand before kings;he will not stand before obscure men.)

4) Declutter and organize - This sounds like it's the result of having more time in your day, not the contributor to having more time. But actually, when your home is already decluttered, clean and organized it's much, much easier to maintain. The problem comes when we are still swamped under all of our "stuff." I heartily recommend Flylady and/or The Grand Plan to help you. I know it can often be an overwhelming process - believe me, I've been there. But the rewards are far greater than you can imagine. The time you invest in this process will pay off in much more free time down the road when everything is easier, simply because the bulk of the work is already done. Once this step is done, it's just maintenance! (1 Cor. 14:40 - But all things should be done decently and in order.)

5) Don't be selfish - This relates somewhat to "don't be idle." Consider the needs of your family before your own. Not to say we should neglect ourselves, but be sure to give your very best to your family. Your family deserves a mom who tends to their needs. You are your husband's only wife and your children's only mother. Only you can meet those needs. (Proverbs 31: 11 - The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain.)

6) Plan, plan, plan! - How much time is wasted because we fail to plan. As someone once said, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. If you don't know what you will be having for dinner, you'll be left with the needless and expensive choices of either eating out or buying impulse purchases on a last minute run to the store. If you don't plan on when to spend time maintaining your home, you will become overwhelmed once it gets out of control. I suggest creating a menu plan and a household chore plan that works for you. These will greatly simplify your life, simply because you can plan ahead and keep things on track.

7) Don't make your work harder - Clean up as you go through your day. Letting pots and pans sit and then trying to clean them is much harder than cleaning them right away. Sort your mail by a garbage can and toss whatever you can, rather than letting junk mail pile up. Wiping up a spill immediately takes just a second - if you wait until it's a sticky mess it will be much harder. The general rule is do something as quickly as you can. It's kind of the same principle as eating your least favorite food first. At least it will be done and you can move on to more pleasant things!

8) Do as much as you can in advance - Again, investing a little time upfront can pay off big time. Prepare what you can for dinner in the morning (slow cookers are great helps, but make the salad, prep vegetables, etc. if you can) so that dinner time, with all the kids rushing around and needing to be driven here and there, will go a little smoother. Iron all your husband's shirts for a week, instead of doing it every morning. Cook double meals so that one can go into the freezer for a busy day.

These are just some tips that I've learned to help me keep my home running smoothly. I've come a long way from the days when I was embarrassed if someone came to my front door. With just a little extra effort, my house is (usually!!) in shape and welcoming, both to visitors and my family.


ValleyGirl said...

Once again, a great homemaking post, Lori! My goal this fall is to get into this kind of a routine.

stacey said...

I love this! I have truly been struggling with each of these lately!

I like the simple, yet detailed way you presented everything! Plus, I am a list girl! The scriptures are so helpful too!

I checked out your resources; seems like FlyLady simplified a few things and I had never heard of the Grand Plan!

Mary said...

Lot's of good info! Thanks for adding a scripture to each bit of advice. It's much easier to take the medicine with a little sugar.


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