In this series we have focused on prioritizing, developing a routine, planning meals in advance and keeping up with the clutter. Here are a few final thoughts I’m pondering on becoming less time-challenged:
Avoid interruptions. Easier said than done! But there are steps we can take to keep our families on track. For example, by providing a routine for my family as mentioned earlier, my children are able to go on to the next thing without interrupting me for directions. We turn off the phone during the hours we normally homeschool and let the answering machine pick up, returning the calls after we’ve taken care of our priorities. One family has even put a sign on their door informing visitors that they are unavailable during homeschool hours.
Just say no. It is hard to keep up with things at home if we aren’t there. We can limit outside activities to one per child or make them family outings one or two days per week. By praying about each decision to take on more responsibilities outside the home before I give an answer, I can avoid that instant response that usually gets me into trouble. During this season, my primary opportunity for ministering is to my own family.
Hit the off switch on the vacuum. There are certain activities that rapidly suck up our time each day. For some it may be reading, for others talking on the telephone, or my personal bug-a-boo — spending time online. By allotting a certain amount of time to those activities that we know tend to get away from us, we can more wisely budget our time. When my daily available block of time for an activity is over — it’s over. Otherwise that sucking sound I hear is my goals and plans for the day being absorbed in the vacuum of time!
Take the best and leave the rest. There is only so much I can do. Each decision I make regarding how I will spend my time is a choice between good and best. I can sit down and spend 30 minutes in front of a television, or I can spend the same 30 minutes reading a book, or 30 minutes reading to my children, or 30 minutes reading Scripture. I can prayerfully evaluate each activity’s usefulness in the broader scope of my life. By consciously making a decision, I know I am more likely to be using the time I have been given wisely — each and every day.