Saturday is typically our family’s day of rest. Chris and I take turns going for a run after our morning prayer time, and our kids get to stay in PJs as long as they want to. Not so this past weekend…
We had no specific place to go upon waking and were able to sleep in until around 8am, but when I awoke I was greeted with a messy kitchen and a to-do list that I swear was being fed Miracle-Gro. Has this ever happened to you? (Dumb question. Of course it has.)
The frustration I faced was that nothing on my list felt unnecessary. I’d not been guilted into serving on a boring committee. There was no dread in my heart about any of the tasks ahead. I have a simple laundry process but it still had to be done. We have a minimal amount of dishes but they still became dirty. I exercise to feel well. And spending time with my family is a no-brainer!
In my opinion, the minimalist approach to a schedule is to focus on a few key things and let the rest wait or say no to the opportunities. To determine what should stay or go, I created a mind map to get all my thoughts gathered in one place. Then I attacked the list to get a good feeling for how and where I needed to act. Here are the specific solutions I came up with:
* My kids’ laundry needed to be done. I gave them the option to do it on their own or stink. (They made the right choice and I discovered my kids can do laundry. WIN!)
* I identified the “must-haves” for my weekend and wrote down when they’d happen. (Family time would be dinner while watching a football game on TV together after church on Saturday night. Chris and I would have a dinner date Sunday evening.)
* One item on my task list that I’m eager to dive into is a magazine article I’m working on. I had to admit, however, that the deadline on it isn’t pressing so I deferred it until I have time alone to write on an airplane next week.
* My daughter had a birthday party to attend and my son would be playing with neighbors, so that became the ideal time to get some time to myself. (I admit I feel guilty sometimes when I take time to be alone, and it tends to be the first thing to go when my schedule fills up.)
* I moved the non-emergency items to Sunday afternoon to get done before our date: sweep the floors, write next week’s menu, and place an order with Whole Foods shopping service for Chris to pick up next week.
* I let the dishes wait and got to work on writing 3 blog posts. The dishes would have to wait until after the posts were out of my heart and scheduled on this blog.
* Exercise would be my reward after completing my 3 blog posts. Writing isn’t stressful per se, but going for a run after writing helped me make the transition from computing time to relational time at church and with my family.
Result: Though I’m an advocate for saying no regularly, I was amazed to learn I didn’t have to say no to any of these tasks and was able to still have time for myself and my family.
If you find your schedule is in dire straits, check this out: Choosing What to Axe from Your To-Do List
Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally. She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.