Does your daily schedule often feel weighed down by busyness? When you go to bed at night, do you feel like your whole day has been spent in a haze of activity? Are you happy with your current schedule? It might be time to take a step back and clean up your daily routine. Here are 4 strategies that can help you wake up and start living each day more intentionally. Application of these strategies can help you on the path to creating a schedule that makes you happy.
Create a Time Budget
Just like you would sit down a create a budget for your spending, sit down and create a budget for your time. Start with the BIG-must do’s of your day and work your way down. That will look different for different people but we all have the same 24 hours. Here is an example of my list.
- Sleep (7 hours)
- Spend quality time with God. (@ least 15 minutes)
- Spend quality time with Husband. (@ least 45 minutes)
- Spend quality time with kids. (@ least 1 hour a day)
- Work on my Business 3-4 hours per Day (4 hours)
- Daily Housework/Operation (2 hours)
- Weekday Exercise (2 hours including commute)
- Getting Ready for Bed (30 minutes)
- Getting Ready for Day (30 minutes
- Meal Preparations and eating breaks (1 hour)
Total= 19 Hours
That leaves me 5 hours in my 24 for “optional” activities as long as all the things in my must do don’t take longer than I budgeted.
Tasks I Choose
- Extracurricular Kids Activities
- Hanging out with Friends
- Watching Entertainment
- Social Media
Writing your activities down will help you visualize your day and help you better understand what things need to stay and what things need to go. Build your day around the “Must Do’s” and save the tasks you choose to do for last.
If your “Must Do” time list exceeds 24 hours, you’re spending time that you literally don’t have. Something is getting sacrificed and I’m going to say that it’s probably sleep, cleaning or quality time with your family.
Learn to Say No
“You need 4 dozen cupcakes for this Saturday’s bake sale? No problem.”
“Oh, you need me to volunteer in nursery AND children’s ministry this month? I guess I can do that.”
You live a life filled with daily opportunities but most of the time your decision to participate in those comes down to wanting to please others. One thing that really spoke to me in The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lisa Terkeurst was when she described feeling instant regret or dread when you say yes to something. When was the last time someone asked you to volunteer your time or energy for a project and you felt an instant sense of dread after you said yes to the project?
What you need to ask yourself is, do I have enough hours left in my day to take on this commitment? If not, graciously say no and then hold your ground. Your leftover hours are sacred space for your life. Don’t hand those out willy-nilly. Be thoughtful with that time.
Make Trades- Not Sacrifices
I was listening to a podcast this week from Michael Hyatt where he was comparing the space in your life the space in your closet. There is only so much room in your closet. At some point you need to get rid of things. If you’re good at organization- for every new thing you bring in- you should send one item out.
Are you doing this with your schedule? Do you add one thing on top of the other until your schedule feels cluttered and overwhelming? When you take on something that you think is important, be sure you let go of a lesser commitment. Don’t sacrifice your time and energy. Make some hard decisions and choose what is better.
Choose What is Better
When deciding what things deserve any of those hours left over in your life, be sure you are choosing things that are better. How does it serve your soul, goals, mind, health, family or marriage?
We all have responsibilities in life that we have to do that aren’t optional. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the hours spent in the margins of our lives that are useless wastes of time. Or even activities that we are doing to please other people. Nothing productive comes from them and your family gets your leftovers (which probably is the grumpy-worn out version of yourself.)
Each day put your time through your filters. Budget the time, learn to say no, make trades- not sacrifices and chose what is better! It’s not easy. It will take time to get used to making these choices. At the end of the day you will find more joy in your heart, mind and family life. Hopefully you’ll hold on to a little sanity each day!