SummaryIs being too busy inevitable in modern life? Heather Cook presents six practical time management tips from her experience as a homeschooling mother of five.
1. Be Stingy With Your Time
As a homeschooling mom I know how difficult and important it is to manage time effectively. Running a household, while simultaneously educating your children, can be extremely stressful. I have found a simple solution to managing my family’s time, which is to become stingier with our obligations.
I like to spend my time doing things that positively impact our lives in some manner, while also honoring God. Our time is limited, and it is helpful to remember this fact every day. As Psalm 90:12 so eloquently put it,
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
How many times have you heard, I’m just too busy for that? What they (or you) are implicitly stating is that you don’t want to do whatever is being put off. There is a big difference between can’t do and don’t want to do. I had time to binge watch Netflix, but alas, time was too sparse to fold that laundry pile.
We all have a finite amount of time; we can choose to be conscientious and good stewards of our time, or we can squander it. Getting your priorities in order makes the task of managing time more simple. You have to understand what you want out of the day, week, or lifetime; this enables you to choose a path and stick to it.
3. Establish a Schedule Increasing Predictability
Incorporating a rhythm or schedule throughout the day is a great way to establish a routine, which allows children to feel safe. The predictability involved with the schedule is a powerful parenting tool. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychology theory developed by Abraham Maslow in 1934.
It is a pyramid, from lowest tier to highest tier: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and finally self-actualization on the top. The lower tiers have to be accomplished before you can move to the upper tiers. In order for people to have self-actualization, they have to have food.
Your basic needs must be met before you can really grow as a person. Maslow defined self-actualization as benefiting the “greater good,” not just oneself. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourself.” We all want our children to be the best version of themselves, and we can help foster their development with some forethought and planning.
4. Create Goals and Tasks
I make a goal or task list for myself each night for the following day, and I order the goals from most important to least. I have a clear sense of what I wish to accomplish with my day; clear direction makes my days go smoother. That is not to say there aren’t snares in my plan.
There certainly are, but most of the time the important things on my list get accomplished. I chose the word accomplished intentionally, just as I purposely call my to do list my goal chart. When you are managing your time well, you will feel a sense of direction. Having direction, whilst living with intentionality, will enable you to effectively utilize the gifts that God has bestowed upon you.
5. Resist the Busy Culture
I think our culture puts too much emphasis on being busy. Romans 12:2 puts it into perspective: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
There is a distinct difference between being mindlessly busy and actually accomplishing something. It is easy to become busy with too many obligations, whether that is signing your kids up for too many activities or volunteering too much of your time, wearing yourself thin.
I enjoy simple teaching moments, talking about shadows while playing outside, looking up what wild flowers the kids picked, or trying to guess which bird is singing outside our window. We have a slow pace and our schedules aren’t packed with tons of extracurricular activities.
This enables me to savor my time with my children, without feeling too rushed.
6. Be a Good Steward of Your Time
My kids are learning to be good stewards of their time. They are in charge of their unstructured free time. Being busy is not a status symbol my family strives for. We all have 1,440 minutes in a day; what do you think is important?
Time is a finite resource, one of our most sacred commodities, and it should be treated as such.
Matthew 6:33-34 says,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”