I often hear this: "How do you do it all?!!!" First of all, I don't. Second of all (BIG disclaimer here) I am not saying if you do these things that you are bad, wrong, etc My desire is to simply give some practical tips on how I "find time" :) Even though I don't "do it all" I thought I would share with you some things I do and don't do that free up time so that I can do things that I think matter most.
A friend wrote me recently and said: " I don't know how in the world you find time to write, post, blog, read, encourage with all your kiddos...Most days I barely have time to eat." Unfortunately, I ALWAYS find time to eat. :) But "find time" is an interesting saying, isn't it? Do we find time? Not really... In a way time finds us. We can't escape it. We all have a certain amount of time... 24 hours... EVERY day to do whatever we CHOOSE. There is the key, we choose what we do with our time. Each minute is so valuable. Ephesians 5:16 says: "Make the most of EVERY opportunity in these evil days." We are either spending our time investing in this life or the next. When you do EVERYTHING for the Lord you are investing in eternity because what we do FOR HIM lasts forever. Now that's cool. Colossians 3:23-24 says: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Good stuff. Convicting stuff. Encouraging stuff.
1. WE DON'T LIKE SPENDING MONEY. What does buying things have to do with having more time?! Well, if you don't go somewhere to buy things you are saving time. Shopping takes lots of time. Buying things often means clutter. Clutter is stuff that takes your time. Everything we buy becomes something else for us to take care of, to clean, to find a spot for... Everything we buy takes our time. When you don't buy much of anything you have more time!
2. WE BARELY GO ANYWHERE. We live next to the church where my husband works and where the majority of our social functions happen. Not all of you have this luxury I understand. We (my husband and I) are homebodies anyway and so we aren't tempted to go places anyway. Just to give you an example of how much we are homebodies I will tell you this: our van showed that we should have gone in for an oil change a YEAR AGO because that is when the average person would have traveled 3,000 miles. We were at like the 2,000 mile mark. Driving places takes time too. The less you drive the more time you have to do other things that you decide matter more.
3. I DON'T READ BOOKS. (or at least finish them). Books are great. I love books. I just never finish them. I try and get out of them what I NEED. They are a resource but I don't want them to be a "time sucker". Use things like books, don't let them use you. There is so much good stuff on the internet too that often puts into a shorter form what books are trying to portray. There is SO much info on homemaking, recipes, being a godly wife, a good mom, commentaries etc. that are on-line in a condensed form. And remember if you don't buy it you don't have to shop for it and it won't clutter up your home and give you something else to clean up and therefore you have more time!
4. WE HOME SCHOOL. Homeschooling frees up time in some ways and takes it in others. Obviously I have to take time to teach my children. But this is one of the things I decided is WELL WORTH MY TIME. It frees time up because we don't have to get up and going and out the door and driving somewhere. We are at school all the time :) My kids have more time too because of it! Getting done with school work by noon frees up lots of time (having no homework helps too!)
5. AS OF NOW, WE DON'T DO SPORTS. Sports seem to be a major time sucker for lots of families. Which is fine if that family has decided that that is something that is very important. Scott and I have discussed sports at length. We are thinking of letting one child pick one sport a year. That way we can go as a family and support that child. We also want to teach our children to look at sports from an eternal perspective (just like we want them to look at all things in life). If and when we do sports we want our child to represent Christ well in their sport and to share the gospel/invite their teammates to church etc. How well our kids do in sports has no eternal value unless we seek to do it for the Lord and I doubt He cares if we take first place or not.
6. I AM NOT A PERFECTIONIST. (sometimes I wish I was a little more than I am :) I think perfectionists have a tendency to spend a lot of time on things. They want it to be perfect after all! I am happy with things being done. Just done. Not perfect. Take this blog for example. It is far from perfect. My goal is not to have a beautiful impressive blog, my goal is to encourage my sisters in Christ.
I am happy to have my house looking nice and picked up and but maybe not necessarily immaculate. We should do things well, because as I said earlier everything we do should be done for the Lord, but we don't want to be consumed by things just so they can be perfect. Don't be a Martha concerned about many things that don't matter in light of eternity. Be a Mary. Seek the Lord. Seek to serve Him and please Him. Don't seek to impress others.
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”-Luke 10:38-42
Don't be a perfectionist. Be a Mary. Look to invest in things that can't be taken away from you. Things of eternal value.
7. I DON'T MAKE A FUSS OVER MEALS. I think some women spend a lot of time planning meals, cooking meals, cleaning up after meals. I keep things simple. Take today for example. I used one skillet to make the whole family scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast. For lunch the kids had peanut butter and chocolate chip (just a few :) sandwich on whole grain bread. For dinner tonight we are having leftovers. As long as your family is eating healthy I don't think it matters how fancy/complicated it is.
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit..."Romans 14:17
8. I DON'T HAVE MANY HOBBIES. This is a big one. I have seen many women get into hobbies and it takes over their time. I don't sew, play sports, make things etc. This frees up lots of time. There is nothing wrong with hobbies, just don't let them be another time sucker in your life. Now blogging is a hobby but it is one that I think has eternal value. Hopefully it is encouraging people in their walks with the Lord and I am excited for my children to be able to read it when they are older. I would have loved it if my mom did something like this for me to look back on and read! I also enjoy facebook and view it as a hobby of sorts but I see it as a eternal hobby because I am able to hopefully encouraging people in their walks with the Lord. Choose your hobbies wisely and prayerfully.
9. I DON'T TALK ON THE PHONE OR HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS MUCH. Need I say more? Going out even one day a week really puts me behind on laundry, house cleaning, time with kids, homeschooling etc. Talking on the phone does the same thing. I have plenty social time with all the activities at church, I don't need to add more to my plate.
10. I AM NOT AFRAID TO SAY NO. This may be the most important. I don't know if it is a woman thing or what but we seem to struggle with telling people no. This is why it is so important to sit down with your husband and talk about priorities. What are you going to make your life about? What are you going to allow to take your time? Once you figure that out you can figure out what to say no to.
11. I LOOK FOR WAYS TO MULTITASK. Multitasking gives us lots of extra time. Doing two things at once always helps! For example, if I'm on the phone (even though like I said I barely am) I try to unload the dishwasher, clean counters, clear the table, sweep etc. While cleaning the kitchen I always try to listen to a sermon or the audio bible. Look for ways to multitask.
We all have 24 hours. We all have time to find. We all have to choose what we will do with our time. Be intentional with how you spend your time.
"Do you love life? Then do not waste time for that is what life is made of." anonymous quote
Sorry about the button... I just couldn't help myself! :)