This month has been quite a learning experience for me. I basically set out to see if I could add one more thing to my already hectic schedule and through better planning of each day, manage to actually get more done. Well, the verdict is in and the answer is a resounding and surprised yes.
More importantly, I’ve found my smile again. In spite of continued and added challenges, I am finding a way to rise above the tasks for the day and fix my gaze on the hope I have in Christ – for today, for tomorrow, and forever.
Below you can see what I have found this month, through experimentation, to be good solutions to getting more done, or at least getting more important things done.
1) Start the day with prayer and Bible reading. This is the first thing I need to put in my “pack” each day. If I don’t begin the day in the right attitude, the first trial I meet will cause much more trouble and fuss. When I start the day right, things just go more smoothly.
2) Identify scarcities. If you have a resource (or two) that you have scarce supplies of, it can lead to more scarcities. For example, I have scarce supplies of time and sippy cups. If I don’t take the time each day to clean and sanitize those sippy cups, the next day, I will be faced with an even bigger problem that will take yet more time out of my schedule (more than if I had just planned ahead and secured the resources).
Some of my scarcities and solutions include:
Dinner – I sat down one night this month, planned out the entire month’s meals. The next day I went to Sam’s, bought supplies in bulk, and did some bulk cooking. Each night that I cooked dinner, I made two recipes of it and froze one portion so that in the coming weeks and month, I have dinner pretty well under control. I started with the Pioneer Woman’s Freezer Cooking episode and modified the recipes to be gluten free. Then, I browsed through her Freezer-Friendly meals and added some of those to my list as well.
Sippy Cups – I just make sure each and every night that I have enough cups to make it through the next day. If I don’t, then I run a load of dishwasher after putting kids to bed, even if I have five million other things that need to be done.
House-cleaning – well, you saw the cleaning post … 15-20 minutes each day has been keeping my house under control, and we are even staying on top of changing the air filters and cleaning out the gutters.
Knitting/Reading/Time for Myself – I also started carving out time for myself to do things that I enjoy. Most of the time, it is worked into some other activity – like knitting while listening to NPR’s Serial with Jeremy one evening a week, but other times I just decide I need to stop getting work done and I need to sit and read a book for a bit. It has been marvelous.
I could keep adding to this list, but these are the biggies for me. These are the things that I make sure to plan ahead for so that I don’t end up using extra time to get these things done. It’s all about learning to become efficient so that you can do more with less. I’m finding that knowing how to do more with less comes from wisdom. The kind that comes from God, not from human understanding.
There is certainly an element of discipline about it, but there is also faith. Faith that God will make ends meet. Faith that God will equip me to deal with the day’s challenges – whether that is twenty-seven fights between my 3-1/2 year old and 18-month old, or if it is fighting a cold while trying to meet work deadlines. And it is that faith that gives me hope. Wisdom means I’m no longer “blundering ahead with any sense of self-sufficiency or self-reliance in this moment. I’m taking pause to plan out each day, with the wisdom that only God can give. And then I’m trusting Him to get the work done.
I’ll leave you with this scripture that I read this morning:
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1: 2-5