In my mind I cook all of our meals from scratch, I hang all clothing on the drying racks to dry, the kitchen is tidy, the floors swept and the beds always made. I spend time in prayer every day, my blog posts are scheduled in advance and my inbox never reaches past 10 unread email….which always get read. I make God priority, read to our son every night, play games often and keep our home a safe haven from the world.
Unfortunately for my mind, my reality looks much different. Right now we are in a busy season. Besides Vice President of Household Operations, I am also a budget coach, teacher's aide, women's ministry leader, fundraising coordinator, author and business owner. Individually, these additional roles are all part time and typically easy to manage.
But there are periods of time when our responsibilities collide creating a firestorm of commitments, deadlines and priorities all screaming for our attention. Since the beginning of the school year, I've struggled to maintain my joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control when the busy times hit.
Maybe your life feels the same way. The disconnect between what your mind wants to see and what your reality looks like is a big one and the truly aren't enough hours in the day. You become the person you never wanted to be and soon realize life has gotten out of balance and you can't manage your priorities.
You can read a hundred blog posts on limiting your commitments, saying no, and clearing your schedule. All of these are great and encourage you to keep commitments in check and learn to say no. Yet, sometimes life just throws a whole bunch of stuff your way, or, you realize you've over-committed but you can't walk away in the middle of something. What then? How do you handle it all?
#1 Evaluating Your Priorities
The battle between what we really want to do and what we realistically have time for seems never ending. This is why we must evaluate our priorities. I don't mean evaluating the commitments we make or what gets most of or time. I mean, evaluate the priority things you do and decide what can take a back seat for a season.
I enjoy traditionally prepared foods, especially sourdough things and brewing kombucha. I'm working on mastering homemade bread but right now that needs to take a backseat. I will continue to make the things I've mastered but my desire for baking a good loaf of homemade bread is going to have to wait.
#2 Get a Planner
There's no shortage of planners available these days. There's even a planner sub-culture devoted to sharing planner layouts on Periscope. Whether you want a digital planner, printable paper planners (this is my favorite source) or a traditional bound planner, get one today.
#3 Keep God First
I have learned the hard way that I reflect less of Christ when I skip spending time with Him. No matter if you're a homeschool mom or a working mom, your attitude, actions and home atmosphere will improve when you are purposeful about time with God. The Lord has gently reminded me of this again and in just a few days of intentional devotions and prayer, I've noticed my attitude has improved and so has my productivity.
#4 Kid Connect Time
No matter how busy things get our children need to know they are a priority. Yes, we may work and clean and put food on the table but they are our priorities, not theirs. Take 10 minutes once or twice a day and spend it alone with each child. Do something they want to do. Be intentional about out, “I have 10 minutes while dinner is finishing, what do you want to do?”
#5 Meal Plan
Much can be said about meal planning. It doesn't have to be difficult. Make a list of the recipes your family loves and rotate them throughout the month or week. If you're new to meal planning, do one week and see how it goes. Keep your plan in your planner or on the refrigerator so you know what you need to thaw or prep. I meal plan by the month and add in extras that come from the weekly meal plans at Traditional Cooking School when something catches my eye.
#6 Develop and Evening Routine
It's been said that a good morning starts with a good night. I couldn't agree more. Before you go to bed, give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to tidy up a priority area of the home. For me, it's the kitchen/living/dining room area. Your goal here is not perfection or deep cleaning. It's maintenance that stops life clutter from piling up.
#7 Enlist Help
Have you seen the meme on Facebook that says, “If a child can operate these…..they can operate these…” and show pictures of smartphones, remotes, and video controllers followed by a washing machine, dishwasher and vacuum? It's true – your children can and should be helping around the house.
#8 No New Commitments
I said this wasn't about reducing your current load of commitments but there's something to be said about not adding more to the list. It's okay to skip new events. Really, it is. Say thank you and graciously say no, you won't be able to make it. You can do it!
#9 Spouse Connect Time
Just like kid time, you need to spend some focused time with your spouse. Even if it's 10 minutes before bed or praying together each morning before work, make some time to at least check in with him and connect.
Seasons of busyness will come our way and even the most organized person can fall behind or feel overwhelmed. I've juggled everything from full-time work and motherhood to stay at home mom and now a conglomerate of work at home, business owner and VP of Household Ops. When you can't eliminate commitments you can maximize your time and still thrive in the busy seasons of life.