By Contributing Writer, Jenni Mullinix
There is a popular quote that says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” This is often used to exhort young mothers to cherish the time they have with their small children. However, I think it’s applicable to all people.
With every passing year almost all of us say we can’t believe how fast the months flew by. Many times I believe the days are long and the years are whizzing by faster than you can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” because we have too many events, activities and responsibilities crowding our calendar.
While simplifying your schedule is no easy task (especially if you have a large family), I have found three things to be extremely helpful in creating a little more margin in my life.
3 Ways to Simplify Your Schedule
Determine Your Priorities
The most important step in simplifying your schedule is to determine what you want to spend your time and energy doing and focusing on. For example, as a wife and homeschooling mama to young children, my attention is mostly directed toward teaching my kiddos, keeping a clean enough house and nurturing my relationship with my husband.
Depending on your situation, your focus may be completely different than mine. Once you have prayerfully considered the top priorities for yourself (and your family), you will be able to more easily decide what to keep in your schedule and what might need to be crossed off.
As with many things, this will change in every season of life. It is good to re-visit your priorities on a regular basis (like at the end or beginning of every year!) to determine what needs to be changed.
Leave Your Planner at Home
This may sound counter-productive when talking about simplifying your family calendar.
Don’t you need you planner with you at all times to avoid over-scheduling?
In my experience, I have found that not having my planner with me everywhere I go allows me to take the time I need to decide whether a certain event or opportunity fits into my list of priorities and current schedule.
If someone asks me to do something, I can simply state that I need to check my calendar when I get home and will get back to them. This also gives me to opportunity to pray and/or talk to my husband before making a decision if needed.
Schedule a “No Plans” Day
One of the most helpful things for me to do to avoid becoming overwhelmed with a busy schedule is to have a fairly consistent “No-Plans” Day. This is basically a day that you block off and keep free of any appointments.
I often use this time for a more leisurely day at home with the kids. We play, craft, bake, and getting caught up on a little housework. Sometimes we make last-minute plans for a trip to the park or a playdate with friends we haven’t seen in awhile. And every once in awhile we stay in our PJ’s, snuggle up on the couch to read books and watch television.
A “No-Plans” Day is basically a day to slow down, do something that will relieve some stress and help you savor everyday moments.
I believe that if you put these three things into action you will have a great jump start on creating a simple schedule for the new year. May the next twelve months be full of joy, peace and a little more margin!