Last week, we talked about the first step in Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode: prayerfully setting and focusing on our personal priorities. And this week I have begun to work on the next steps Crystal lays out in chapter one: clearing the schedule clutter, cutting out time and energy suckers, and counting the costs. And let me tell you, this has been a challenge for me. Yes, I have clearly defined priorities now, but I need the discipline to break some habits so I can focus on what truly matters.
I was reading in Proverbs last week and came across this verse:
“He who tills this land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” – Proverbs 28:19
And then the very next verse says, ” A faithful man will abound with blessings” – Proverbs 28:20a
And I immediately recognized their application to the running of my home. I need not only to focus on my priorities, but I need diligence and discipline to avoid empty pursuits. And I need to recognize that my empty pursuits are specific to me. My empty pursuits will be what amount to schedule clutter, time and energy wasters.
So, I am just going to lay it out there:
Hello, my name is Leah and I waste my time in these areas:
Reading late into the night
Choosing a nap over finding ways to boost my energy in the middle of the day
Watching ridiculous TV programs
I could easily sit here and justify each of these pursuits; but as I do, I realize they truly don’t line up with my priorities and are, indeed, time wasters. Crystal, in her book recommends making a time log of all of my activities throughout the day, but I am such a creature of habit, I could tell you almost everything I do on a regular day. Thus, I know exactly where I am wasting my time and where I need to force myself out of my routine.
So, I need discipline and new habits to force myself out of the ruts of wastefulness in which I find myself. I created a new Basic Daily Schedule for our home. In the schedule, I have little reminders to myself of the things I would like to accomplish, as well as the things I would like to avoid. I also have made an effort to return to my morning and evening routines that I know work for me. And I set a few new rules for myself to insure I am more present and intentional with my family.
I have not perfectly carried out the Basic Daily Schedule since I created it, but it has put me back on track in a number of ways. Not every day is exactly the same (some days we are not even home to carry out the basic schedule), but they are very often similar. I find having the schedule laid out helps me to see where I have veered off greatly on the days we honestly could and should be following our regular routines. On those days, I can quickly get back on track by simply leaving what lies behind and moving ahead with what matters. I have found that dwelling on the failures of my day and then choosing to succumb to the wastefulness (“…the day is already ruined, so I might as well keep ruining it…”) is in no way productive.
Rather, I choose to focus on the priorities I have and get excited about things I do accomplish in the day. I have been encouraging you to name ONE thing you accomplished today, not the laundry list of things that didn’t get done, but ONE thing that DID! I find having one small project completed, or one small bit of encouragement in my day helps me not to feel like a failure. There is some forward momentum to note, even on the days when it is only one small thing.
I also find that one good deed follows another as I go throughout my day. The momentum shifts back in a positive direction and I can be more focused on what matters. In a sense, faithfulness breeds faithfulness, and I receive the blessings faithfulness affords. And as I am faithful and receive the blessings of it, I am less interested in my empty pursuits (I suddenly have less time for the things that used to waste my time).
So, what about you? Have you taken the time to clearly define your priorities? Good! Now take the time to identify the things that waste your time and do not help you accomplish your daily goals. If you would like to share here, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.