Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Do the Hardest Thing First

Monday, January 7th, 2013

The key to getting a lot done in your day is to do the hardest thing first. You know, the thing you’re dreading. Maybe it’s a quick phone call you need to make, and it’s weighing you down. If you get it done first (just force yourself to do it), then you feel lighter. You will be relieved and energized to do everything else you need to do in your day.

As much as I love filming my homeschooling to upload to my Unit Study Treasure Vault, during the month of December I just wanted to rest. We took the month off from homeschooling, but I still hadn’t filmed a few things to polish the Cell Unit Study. I needed to film how to put together the shadow box of the plant cell. I had all the materials out on the kitchen counter. They stayed on the kitchen counter for days. It was an easy project, but I was tired. I just kept putting it off. After all, the unit study wasn’t due in the vault until the 1st of January.

Well, my husband wanted to put his stuff down on the counter when he got home from work. But the counter was crowded with my cell stuff. This is why the project was weighing down on me. I finally decided I would just do it. We filmed it, and it was super easy. And it was done. I felt so much energy after that. I got more done that day than any other day in December, just because I bit the bullet and forced myself to do the thing that for some reason I had procrastinated.

You will not know what is weighing you down until you make a list of the things you need to get done. Making a list of to-do’s the night before will make you more productive the next day. After you have the list of things weighing you down, you can choose to do the hardest thing first, and force yourself forward to get it done. I’m telling you, this works.

Multitasking Burns Your Dinner

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

multitaskingAs I was cooking dinner one night, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the buzz of the dryer, because the load contained shirts that I didn’t want to wrinkle. Meanwhile my husband called and said he was going to be home late because of traffic. I hung up the phone, and my 11-year-old son started talking to me while I said, “Just a second. Rachel! Set the table please!” and I heard a “Yes, Mommy.” Meanwhile my son was talking, but I have no idea what he was saying because I heard the dryer buzz. I set down my spatula from the stir fry to go to the dryer. I quickly and efficiently folded all the shirts as fast as was humanly possible. My head felt thick as my son continued to jabber on and on. I still wasn’t listening to him because… oh, no! Dinner was burnt! I lifted the pan and turned off the burner, looking toward the dining room to make sure that my daughter had obeyed me about setting the table. She had. I set the pan down. I decided to serve the dinner burnt.

We have come to think of multitasking as being efficient with our time. Especially as mothers, we tend to be doing between three to five things all day long. We try to juggle to get everything done, but the truth is that we have forgotten to focus. And we have forgotten how to live in the moment. The saddest part of all this was that the only thing of eternal value in this scenario was my son’s open heart to me, wanting to share something with me. He is soon going to be a teenager, and if I don’t listen to him now, he won’t bother to tell me things in the future, the things that matter. Because what’s important enough for him to say to me, I ought to be able to listen to. But it seems like I don’t have time or brain space. My brain is juggling six things and can’t input more information without dropping something; in this case, burning dinner.

Actually, whenever I focus on only one thing, I get a lot more done. This includes being with people. When I am in my room, sitting on a chair, and my son wants to talk, I can focus great, and we have the most wonderful, deep spiritual conversations. Like the other day he was telling me how frustrated he was with his brother, who would over-react. This would infuriate him, but he had enough self-control not to show his anger. I told him he didn’t need to give in to the temptation to become angry; that God always provides a way out so that we don’t have to sin. “Look for the way out,” I said. We brainstormed ways to do this. Then we prayed that God would transform all of our hearts to help us to overcome sin. You see, I was paying attention to him because I wasn’t multitasking.

Being scatterbrained is no way to live. I was never scatterbrained until I became a mother, and I felt like there was no choice. But we do have a choice. We can choose to do laundry at the beginning of each day so that it doesn’t interfere with dinner. We can ask God how to eliminate action clutter, things that don’t matter that we happen to be doing. And we can learn to be present, to live and breathe, and to do one thing at a time.

Trash Your Goals: You’re Going Too Fast

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

trash-your-goals

If you set too many goals for yourself, your life will be like a fast train, where you look out at the beautiful scenery, but it’s just a blur. Soon you want to slow down the train, but you don’t want to lose momentum.

It’s like you’ve set yourself a pace that is impossible to maintain. If you don’t slow down, the train will continue picking up speed until it crashes.

Even if the train doesn’t crash, do you really want your life to be a blur? Wouldn’t it be better to have one to three goals that are actually biblical, and scrap the rest? To heck with productivity, if you are an overachiever who can’t savor life. If you fall into this category, scrap all your goals and decide to live this next year by living in the moment and abiding in Christ. Get off the train, feel the cool grass between your toes, and have a lovely picnic with your family. Metaphorically speaking.

If you insist on being highly productive, consider this: Even if you’re productive and accomplishing tons, what does it matter? Unless it’s exactly, precisely in the center of the will of God, your “accomplishments” will have no lasting impact and will be for nothing.

Why is your life going at such a frantic, crazy pace? Is there a reason? Did God actually lead you to do each thing that you are doing? Or do you just live a blurry life because you can’t say no to anything, so you’re stuck with too many commitments that God never led you into?

If you set goals for yourself that you never reach, maybe you are setting the wrong goals. I know a woman who set herself the goal of losing 100 pounds last year. Do you think she reached her goal, especially considering that she was doing a bazillion other things? No, she did not. I set myself the goal of losing 17 pounds, and as much as I’ve exercised this year (more than ever in my life), I did NOT meet my goal. So was the goal worth having? I say yes. Because it made me a healthier person, and my husband noticed and smiled. I also felt prompted by God to do this, and it has helped my marriage.

So I must stop for a second and say that the only exception to scrapping your goals (besides abiding in Christ) is weight loss and fitness. If you’re putting effort into maintaining the body that God has given you because it’s the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you want to have more energy, anything you do towards this end is not wasted. Even if you gain the weight back later, it’s not wasted that you exercised today, because today you have more energy to pour into life, so it was worth it today.

Some people think you should set your goals high and shoot for the stars. If your goals are too low, then you will never achieve anything big. People, goals are not promises. Do you realize that? Goals are something to put up above and ahead of you, so that you know where you’re going. Please consult God when making goals. Why waste a lot of time on something that wasn’t God’s goal? Then who is glorified? No one really. It’s just time wasted.

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