The day is over, your good intentions have gone up in smoke, and you’re exhausted. Where has the time gone? Actually, time didn’t go anywhere. It’s still passing as it always does—sixty minutes an hour, 1,440 minutes a day, 168 hours a week.
To manage our lives well, scheduling is a necessity. A good schedule is a mirror of your life, a tool for improvement, and a wand for accomplishment! With back-to-school season upon us, planning our time is even more important. There is a lot to do and only a few hours each day to do it: homework, projects, carpools, field trips … the list goes on and on.
Praying and Planning
Whatever life-management system we use for organizing our time, the first priority is to carry out our planning with divine style. How are you when it comes to including God in your planning sessions? Be sure to pray over your schedules and days. When you speak of the future—even the next hour—add to your thoughts and words “Lord willing” or “If the Lord wills”. James 4:15 reminds us, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” In all the hustle and bustle, remember to include God when you plan.
After prayer, begin creating your schedule. Without a schedule, the 1,440 minutes God gives you and your family each day can be characterized by stress, frustration, and even rage. But with a schedule for each procedure or project, you and your children have much a better chance of flowing through the day in a calm, orderly progression. A schedule during the school year brings discipline into your life, which helps you walk in the Spirit, produce spiritual fruit, and fulfill His purpose for your life ... and your day. Here are five time-management tips:
- Learn to be more effective. Evaluate your day and note what you did that wasted time—too much TV or internet? Too much texting? You can do a lot of things in your busy, fast-paced life, but are they the right things, God’s priority things (Phil. 4:8)? Put the first things first and that order will help guide your day.
- Learn to eliminate. There are so many activities we do every day that are not essential. Think about what is essential to you. What can be eliminated from yours and your children’s life at this time? As Solomon observed in Ecclesiastes 3:1–8, life has its seasons. So, maybe you take a season off from your book club, or your kids participate in only one after-school activity a week.
- Know your priorities. Manage your time to reflect God as your first priority and your family as your second priority. Service is noble and necessary, but when it gets in the way of your relationship with Christ and calmly managing your household, it is counterproductive.
- Determine to make tomorrow a better day than today. Maybe today didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped for or planned. Ask for God’s grace (and, if necessary, your family’s forgiveness), and start tomorrow fresh. And don’t forget to ask God for His wise counsel (James 1:5) And don’t forget to ask God for His wise counsel (James 1:5)!
- Learn to delegate. Take a long-overdue look at your areas of service in the church. Which tasks could be delegated? The same applies at home. What chores can you give your children?
Be sure to list out each day’s schedule for your children, so they have a clear idea of what and when things will happen (this will also help eliminate too much negotiating bath-time and bedtime with your kids!). Create a Command Center where they can view the schedule, put papers you need to sign, list school project deadlines, and log sports/club practices, game times, recitals, parties, etc.
Being a good steward of your time is important. Putting these steps into place will help you plan your days with intention and deliberation. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes in your use of time and focus. And it’ll make a huge difference in the tone and atmosphere of your home, especially on busy—and early—school-day mornings!
Dear Lord, I need a giant boost of hope and energy to plan my week with wisdom, so that I can be a blessing to my family by bringing calm to our busy days. Help me wake up each morning excited to practice Your priorities—to make my time count! Amen.
Do you currently have a plan in place to schedule your week? Before the school year progresses, set up your Command Center and teach your kids how to add to it and follow it.
As a woman after God’s own heart who desires to grow and plan in wisdom, leading her family well, follow these basic principles:
- Realize only God knows your future.
- Realize God has a purpose for your life.
- Realize God may send interruptions into your “perfect” day.
- Remember to pray over your plans, asking God for guidance.
- Remember to say, “If the Lord wills...”