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Friday, August 21, 2009

Free up some time – quality v. quantity

My schedule was so full of things I “must” to do, that I had no time to do the things I WANTED to do. How insane is that?

So I pulled out my calendars for the current year and the two previous years and looked at all the activities & meetings I had been a part of. And I started listening to friends talk about all the things they had to do and how stressed they were over it.

That’s when I realized that so many people (myself included) had great ‘quantity’ of activities instead of great ‘quality’ of activities.

Of course I realize there are many things we must do. We must work to make a living & maintain the home (homemakers work too!). We must spend time serving the Lord. We must interact with our children. And we must have personal leisure time.

The problems arise when our calendar gets out of balance.

You become a Christian – you serve the Lord. You attend church. You go to a Bible study.

You are blessed with children – you spend time with them. You teach them about life and responsibility. You have fun with them.

You have a home – you maintain it. You clean it. You decorate it.

You join a club – you attend meetings. You work events. You participate.

I was spending huge blocks of time dealing with my clutter of things. I was involved in groups that I had long ago lost interest in or never actually wanted to be involved with in the first place! Pretty bad, huh?

Because of what I saw in my life and my friends’ lives, I developed a personal time philosophy I call “The Rule of Three”. Jugglers can keep 3 balls in the air with relative ease. Good multi-taskers can handle 3 projects with little difficulty. So I divided my life into thirds.

First – always first – is God. Second is my home & family. Third is my leisure.

But then that needed breaking down to keep it under control.

In living my faith, my 3 areas are:
1. Study His Word.
2. Attend church and serve on Sundays.
3. Serve Him by doing mission work & mission support.

For my home and family, my activities are:
1. Spend quality time interacting with my family.
2. Make and maintain an attractive & clutter-free home (house and yard).
3. Nurture my interest in cooking and meal presentation.

And finally my leisure time. I divide this into 2 groups – Hobbies and Interests. Hobbies are hands-on, activity related. Interests are more studying and learning. This is where I really had to make some decisions and let some activities go.
My three hobbies: 1. Photography. 2. Bonsai. 3. Jewelry making
My three interests: 1. My sponsor children. 2. Landscaping. 3. Extension Homemakers group.

I can not tell you how much narrowing my focus has helped take stress off. I go to church every Sunday and Bible study every Wednesday. I have 3 regular monthly meetings. That leaves plenty of time to do things we want to do... mission activities, classes, day trips, time with family & friends.

The system is not perfected yet. I still am fighting down that clutter monster and disorganization monster but that battle is almost won. In itself that free up a lot of extra time for everything else (these long stretches of alone time while Himself is in AK has been very helpful to my “clutter busting”).

I challenge you to consider your calendar. What is it that you long to do? What is it that is keeping you from doing that? Make a plan to direct you on how to focus on what is important to you & your family. You’ll find once you have a plan, it is very easy to weed out those distracting activities that aren’t enhancing your life.

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