This week 31 Days to Clean talks about us listing 6 priorities for the day. To be honest I laughed out loud at this idea – 6 priorities for my day – where do I start?
Clean the house – dishes, clean the toilet, load of washing, empty the rubbish, sweep the floor, make my bed. Six things – and if I was to cook dinner (generally a good idea!!) that would be seven! Though there are days that seem like that is all that happens, with older children taking on a fair portion of these responsibilities I could whittle this down to just a few priority tasks for me giving me time to spend in other areas – such as….
Teaching my kids – Bible study, general knowledge, reading, writing, math, computer studies, life skills – the list goes on. Which ones do I put on my limited list of 6 things?
Managing my household – cleaning is only a part of this – I still have finances to manage, repairs to make, veggies to grow, groceries, clothes, books and gifts to buy, celebrations to plan, people in need to care for. How do I find the time for these things? And then there is…
Looking after me – exercise, quiet time/devotions, marriage relationship, reading/learning, time to be creative, time for friends and family.
There are so many needs in our household how am I going to whittle it down to six!
This is my journey:
I looked at my life – the different spheres I maintain
- Relationships – God, Peter, Me, Children, Others
- Responsibilities – Training my children, looking after household,
- Ministry – outreach into the community via various projects and commitments
- Business – Lifestyle-Homeschool, Creative Memories and our Family Businesses
- Me – Health, Creativity, Learning, Friends
Then I had a look at the Stephen Covey quadrant again. (Once again this is a combination of thoughts I found online – see my previous post for references)
Important / Urgent
Items that need to be dealt with immediately
Important / Not Urgent
Items that need to be planned for
Quality time / Productivity
|Not Important||Quadrant 3:
Not important / Urgent
Items that need to be minimised
Not important / Not Urgent
Items that need to be eliminated
I reflected on what is usually on my to-do list. There is a lot that happens in this house that isn’t on my to-do – the things that we do through the habits of routine: personal devotions, exercise, daily chores, cooking, studying. This leaves areas of household management, ministry and business to be the main threads on my to-do list. This was good to see because it helped me see that life was bigger than my to-do list – in fact the things off my to-do list were more important than the things on my to-do list.
But these tasks need to happen (especially if I have already confirmed that they are important to the direction of our family). If I don’t work on them in the right time frame they quickly move from Quadrant 2 to Quadrant 1 and I am driven then by urgency and that creates stress in me and in my home. So I looked for spots in my day where I could realistically work on these areas (household management, ministry and business). Last week I wrote Hope for my To-do List, basically if I don’t have a time set aside for something to happen it won’t happen. I have also acknowledged that my most productive time is early in the morning so this is the time I should spend on these priority tasks.
So I come to the end of my thinking and realise that yes, I can write 6 tasks for me to work on each day, and yes, there is a likelihood of those tasks being accomplished. But the key for me in this process has been to realise that my to-do list is not the be all and end all of my life – life is bigger than my to-do list!