Last week, I shared this definition of clutter:
Clutter is “anything that complicates your life and prevents you from living in peace as you live out your purpose.” From Clutter to Clarity
Not only can our physical environments become cluttered, but our time (and management of it) can also become cluttered.
Whenever I start to feel stressed or burned-out, I look first to my environment: Is it filled with too much stuff? Is it taking too much to manage it? If it’s pretty decluttered and not a complete pigsty…
I look to my schedule. Am I trying to be a super-mom? Am I trying to make others happy by doing what they want me to do?
More often than not, I find I’ve added something to my schedule…but I haven’t taken something away! No wonder I feel stressed!
Now, I’m not going to write a book here about time-management. First, I’m no expert. Second, there are already thousands of them written. If you need more info on the subject, you can check out Amy Andrew’s Tell Your Time (or pick up the Kindle Version) to get you started in the right direction.
However, I will share three little tips that help me keep my time “uncluttered”. They work well — as long as I’m following them!
1) Evaluate all opportunities in light of your mission, priorities, and purpose.
There are so many good activities, ministries, and opportunities you can be involved with. They could easily fill up your whole day, week, month, year…life. There are probably people calling and knocking on your door continually trying to get you to volunteer your time and talents. When that happens, do not say yes right away. It’s tempting to do — especially if you are a people-pleaser!
First, evaluate the opportunity. Does it line up with your mission in life? Will it move you closer to achieving your goals? Does it fit with your priorities?
Sometimes there are things we have to do simply because they need to be done, but many times, we say yes to something out of guilt. You have to learn to say NO. It’s uncomfortable for me to do that, but life is short. I can’t say yes to everyone without saying no to something else. If I’m not careful, God, my husband, and my girls are the ones taking a backseat. THEY are my priority, so I must make sure I fit everything else around them — not them around everything else!
Secondly, if you add a responsibility to your schedule, make sure it fits! You can’t add something to an already-packed schedule without dropping something else. Either you need to end one responsibility before taking on another, or you need to find a way to rearrange your schedule or make better use of your time.
2) Make a skeleton schedule
Each person in our family has his/her own schedule and daily activities. I’ve made a general schedule that we follow on “normal” days. I tweak this as we add activities and events throughout the week. Obviously, I still have a TON to learn, but one thing I’ve come to understand as a mom is how important schedules are for kids. Life runs much more smoothly when we follow a basic routine. When the girls were babies, I was CRAZY about keeping them on a schedule. There was a lot less fussing and meltdowns for them (and me)! All children are different, but I’m convinced most do best with a schedule of some sort.
I’m not as super-rigid now, but I still find life is happier when we have a plan and the girls know what to expect. With that said, life doesn’t always run according to schedule, so don’t be frustrated when things don’t fit! You should include enough downtime in your schedule to allow for the unexpected.
I’ll be sharing more about scheduling next month when we put together our Home Management binder!
3) Make the most of your morning.
I am not a morning person. You know I’ve failed in that weekly goal many times. I continue to persevere, because my days are more productive when I get up early and start my day! If I complete these three things, I’m able to focus and accomplish so much more:
A) Time with God
C) Schedule and To-Do List Review/Goal Setting
Finding accountability is one way to make sure you make the most of your morning, so enlist a friend’s help! Maybe you can text each other when you get up or send a Facebook message or email! I just recently signed-up for The Hello Mornings Challenge over at Inspired to Action. Unfortunately, they’ve closed the groups for the spring session, but if several of you are interested, you can email me and we can set up our own Facebook or texting group!
My Clear-the-Clutter Challenge this week is to look at my schedule and see if there is anything I need to change or drop. I also want to make a daily schedule for each day of the week to include this semester’s activities.
What do you need to change to “declutter” your time?