How are you making the most of your time?

How are you making the most of your time?

Am I making the most of my time?  Homeschool, blog, church, family; I have so many things vying for my attention, but if I’m not careful, I can easily waste an entire day wandering aimlessly because I haven’t written anything down.  I know I have things to do, but I don’t know where to start.  I don’t want to come to the end of our school year and feel that I didn’t accomplish all that I set out to do.  I don’t want to look back at the end of this year and think that I did not give my all to my family or the people God has put in my life.  It is important that I learn to intentionally think about my time and how I spend it.

It is important that I learn to intentionally think about my time and how I spend it. Click To Tweet

As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.

So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:10,12

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of a man getting ready to go on a journey.  He calls his servants and entrusts to each of them various amounts of talents according to their ability.  To one he entrusts five talents, to another two talents, and the last he gave one talent.  Then he goes off on a journey.  When he returns, he lines the servants up to see what they did with the money.  He expects that they invested it in some way and received a return for it.  The man who had been given five talents traded with them and earned five more.  In the same manner, the man who had two talents also invested them and earned two more.  The landowner was pleased with these men, because they wisely used the possessions he gave them and acquired more.  This is what he he told them:

Well done, good and faithful slave.  You were faithful with a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt. 25:21)

Then he came to the last slave, the man who had been given a single talent.  He was a fearful man.  What if he lost the talent?  What if he didn’t use it correctly and made a huge mess out of things?  He believed his master to be a hard man who reaped where he did not sow and didn’t want to disappoint him.  So he decided to hide the talent — he couldn’t lose it if he didn’t use it, right?  When the time came to give an accounting, he went and dug up the talent and held it out.  “See, here is your talent.  I was afraid to lose it because of what kind of man I knew you to be, but here it is, I didn’t lose it!”

Instead of being grateful, the master was furious!  He called the slave wicked and lazy!  “You should have at the very least put the money in the bank so it could earn interest!  What good does it do me in the ground!”  He then took the talent from the man and gave it to the servant with the ten talents.

For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. (Matt. 25:29) 

What does this mean for us?  Let’s think of the talents as abilities or time.  God has graced each and every one of us with abilities and skills, as well as 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year.   How are we using these precious commodities?  Wisely and thoughtfully? Or are we hiding them in fear?  Are we squandering them on useless things that will gain no profit?

Consider 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”  Am I being a faithful steward of what He has given me?   God has given me the ability to write and a desire to encourage others.  But if I decide that I’m too fearful to share the post I wrote (which I’ve done) or if I don’t talk to the person that I know needs encouragement for fear of rejection (also guilty), then I’m not being faithful to that which God has given me.  He has also given me six children and has called me to homeschool them.  I need to be faithful to teach them and prepare them for life.  I need to be faithful to share the gospel with them and show them what it means to be a christian.  The last two decades I’ve had as a parent have gone by in a flash; in another decade all my kids will be grown.  I only have a short amount of time with them — how am I spending it?

God has graced each and every one of us with abilities and skills, as well as 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. How are we using these precious commodities? Click To Tweet

I know myself, and I know that if I am not proactive and intentional about my days, I can easily waste an entire day appearing active but actually accomplishing nothing.  If I don’t consider my goals and make a prioritized list of actions that need to be accomplished then I will wander from place to place, knowing something must be done but not knowing what to do first.  The Living Well Planner is the best thing I have found to keep track of my life and keep me in check. You can read why I like it in this post.  This is one way that I can keep from wasting my day.  It is the first step, but it isn’t the only step.  I must also DO the things I plan to do.

Psalm 37:5 says, Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him and He will do it.  Before I begin my day I need to spend time with the Lord, as well as meditate on His word throughout the day.  This is an important routine to fill up my tank for the day allowing me to go into my tasks with the right attitude and providing the words to use in spreading the gospel.  I will talk more about this in my next post.

Luke 16:10  “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous in much… If you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?


Are you making the most of your time?

What do you do to make sure you are using your time wisely?

God has graced each and every one of us with time as well as certain abilities. Are we using them wisely? Are we squandering them in fear or wasted time?
How I learned to like discipline and set myself a schedule

How I learned to like discipline and set myself a schedule

One of my goals this new year is to get myself and my children on a schedule so as to make my days more productive.  I wrote this in my journal entry back in November at the height of  frustration with my self and my inability to get anything done.

Discipline is my estranged friend who I pretend to not like. As a matter of fact, discipline has never been my friend. Oh yes, she’s always there, mocking me, telling me life will be much better if I just include her in my day.  But I don’t want her. I want to live free.  Or maybe it’s because it’s work to bring her along and I’m lazy.  I have a love/hate relationship with discipline.
I go through periods of time where I am very disciplined: journaling after my Bible studies, planning every moment, etc.  Then the unexpected happens and my life goes into survival mode.  All the plans, all the journaling, everything goes by the wayside and I live life moment to moment.  Stressed and wearied.  Those are the times I need discipline more than anything else but those are also the times I discard it.                        I had so many things to do today… Now it’s noon and I’m sitting at speech therapy with my son, I should’ve at least worked on all these things, if not completed them.  Not only did none of those things happen, but I didn’t do two of the school subjects I intended to do.  What did I do?  I studied my bible, got distracted with the chicken, conversed with my kids, laundry, and wandered around wondering where to start.  If I had had a schedule then I would’ve known.

I feel certain in saying that I am not the only one who has had days like this; days where nothing goes as planned and you come to the end and wonder what you have to show for yourself.  I had way too many of these days last fall.  We had just moved into our new house at the beginning of the new school year, so all my energy went into quickly unpacking and then figuring out what our routine would be in the new place so that we could begin and not be too far behind.  When we finally began in mid-September I was a harried mess.  I didn’t have a chore system or a school schedule in place.  I didn’t have a system for how the day-to-day tasks were going to occur — we just did things as needed.  This meant that every moment of my day was spent running from one “fire” to the next.  I was exhausted and felt like I was spinning out of control.  It’s no wonder I didn’t write a single blog post in the last few months; I just couldn’t make the time.

Soon after this journal entry, I decided that enough was enough.  It was time to take action!  I decided that I needed to get through the year and the week after Christmas would be my planning week.  We would still be on school break which meant that I could dedicate all my time to planning and making sure that this semester ran smoothly.  I blocked the time out in my calendar and made sure nothing was able to sneak in and rob my time.

Delegate Household Chores

My first step was to delegate all the jobs that need to be done so that our house will run smoothly, i.e. assign chores.  I have done several different kinds of “chore charts” over the years, differing as our needs and the ages of my children demanded.  I made a new kind of chore chart.  One whose goal was to serve me, this house and the needs of our family right now.  My children are old enough and responsible enough to do several necessary household chores on their own; they simply need to be told to do it.  The chore chart does that for me.  I made a list of all the chores that they can do, and put them on laminated, assignable cards which told the owner what to do and when to do it.   Allowing me time to work on other matters without having to think about what they need to be doing at any given moment — they know what they should be doing.

chore chart CollageAn individual chore chart

Plan our School Day

Next, it was time to make my “chore chart.”  The lesson planner that I had purchased in August had boasted of space to write my daily to-do’s as well as my children’s lesson plans.  And, while it is a good planner, and does provide space for menu, shopping list and financial planning, it didn’t have adequate space for my daily to-do’.  I considered purchasing a separate planner dedicated to my schedule, but, as I read some blogs on schedule make-overs, a lot of them discussed using Google calendar.  I already had discovered the benefits of Google calendar as I use it to manage our family schedule, but hadn’t thought of using it for my personal, day-to-day schedule.  I didn’t want my daily, recurring schedule crowding our family schedule so I made a homeschool/blogging calendar on my personal email account instead of on our family email.

Screenshot of my Google calendar

I dedicated time to spend one on one with my youngest students — something I hadn’t succeeded at doing everyday and they have been suffering because of it.  I also dedicated time for a few subjects that we do together.  When there is no scheduled time, then those subjects are the first things to be set aside for tomorrow.  Much like Scarlett O’Hara I would say, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”  But, alas, tomorrow never comes!

Plan Time to Focus on My Interests

Lastly, and most importantly, I set aside time to work on things for my self.  Personal ventures.  Writing on this blog and learning all the ins and outs of the blog world (a subject that makes my head spin!). After all, school will get done without a schedule, my husband makes sure of that, it just happens better with a schedule.  But bettering myself and following my goals and dreams, that doesn’t happen without me pursuing it.  And having six children that I homeschool means that I have to make the time for it or it doesn’t get done.

We are a week into this new schedule, and so far it is flowing pretty smoothly.  Prayerfully, and with much self-discipline, I can break my pattern of poor follow-thru and keep it going throughout the year.  Only time will tell.  Do you have goals to stick to a better schedule this year?

discipline cover

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