It’s the most precious resource you have, and it slips away so easily: your time! Making sure that your days are invested in the things that are intentional and matter most requires a little thought and effort, but it can be done. Try one or more of these strategies to make every minute count.
1. Schedule everything, in priority order.
You may feel silly blocking out a half hour in iCal or Microsoft Office and labeling it “Quiet Time/Devotion” or “Exercise,” but it’s the only way to ensure that those things stay on the agenda, rather than being constantly squeezed out by random things that pop up. A great planner, whether digital or old-fashioned paper, is your friend. Put in the things that matter most first (don’t forget family dinners!), and then honor those “appointments.”
2. Start the night before.
I find it helpful to take a minute just before bed to look at the calendar for the next couple of days and see what’s coming up for myself and my family. Then I jot down to-dos for the following day, and rough out a schedule for getting it all done. It allows me to lie down with a clear mind, knowing that I have a plan, and calms the anxiety that something important might fall through the cracks. You might also want to consider a more in-depth time of planning over the weekend to do meal planning and other essentials to help the week run smoothly.
3. Beware of the sneaky time stealers.
There are so many things pulling at our attention in this plugged-in, ultra-busy world that it’s very easy to lie down at night exhausted yet frustrated that you didn’t accomplish any of the things that mattered most to you. These 5 common time thieves are to be avoided—or ruthlessly managed—to prevent them from monopolizing your precious time.
4. Edit your kids’ activities.
In this day and age, it’s easy to find yourself running carpool and waiting on children until late into the evening…every…single…day. Our opinion? Some activities are meaningful and formative, but many are just time and money drains. Help your kids narrow it down to the one or two things they are most passionate about or gifted toward, and drop the rest.
5. Do a regular “time audit.”
A couple of times per year, sit down with your spouse (you could also include older children) to look at how your family time and other resources are being spent. Make sure that the use of time lines up with your family’s priorities. If you’re off-course and spending more or less time in an area than you intended, work out ways to correct that imbalance going forward.
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.