Three Disciplines That Changed How I Do Life
Of all the time management techniques I have tried, this one is at the top:
Take time to plan.
1. Annually, I try to get away on a personal overnight retreat with the Lord to process through each of the main roles or areas of responsibilities I currently hold. We celebrate the things He has done as well as take time to listen to Him regarding the areas of growth that need to be addressed. I ask Him to highlight three of these areas to grow in for the coming year and write a goal and/or a plan for growth.
2. Weekly, I carve out time on Saturday mornings to plan for the next week. First, I note appointments coming up as well as things I need to do this week in advance for the future. I plot these things onto a map of my week.
I also look at my annual goals and consider how I can take a step forward in my growth areas. I aim for 1-3 “must-do” tasks toward these goals that might otherwise get lost in daily life.
3. Daily, usually the night before, I take this weekly planning sheet and start writing out my daily schedule, including my goal-related tasks. Being a mom, I cannot predict when things happen, but it helps to roughly have a sense of what needs to be done. From a routine I have developed for myself, I insert or delete elements of that routine to fit the needs of the particular day. The plan provides structure but is flexible.
With a plan, I am able to shuffle things around to another day or time without too much consequence as the need arises.
Without a plan, even the littlest things, like the kids waking up late, could derail my day. And in crisis situations, having a routine in place within my plan helps to keep things running somewhat as I tend to the need that arises.
Planning is counter-intuitive. When I first started doing this, I felt resistance because planning seems like it is not accomplishing anything towards putting out the fire!
Planning doesn’t make my day less busy, but it takes on a more purposeful quality in the midst of it. There is nothing like collapsing into bed at the end of the day with contentment, not despair.
If you haven’t tried it before, ask God to highlight an area that could use a bit of planning. Can you just plan the morning? How might it run smoother? Consider these questions: what needs to be done? In what order? How might you offset potential disruptions?
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” After you make your plan, offer it to Him, that He may establish your steps.
Then as far as you are able, use that plan as a guide for your day, trusting that His purposes, even if they are not your own, will stand (Prov. 19:21)