In just a few days, 2011 calendars will be nothing more but fire-starters and coloring pads for our toddlers. Another new year is upon us and if the busyness of the season hasn’t made you wish for more time, just give it a few moments because it’ll catch up to you!
Oftentimes the stress we experience throughout this season and the year in general is due in large part to a lack of planning. We find ourselves slaves to the next invitation, basketball game, ministry event, children’s get-togethers, and so much more. By the way, somewhere in there, we have to live our lives by going to the grocery store, doing chores, having family time, going on a date night, etc. I’m getting tired just writing about it. May I offer a few suggestions that can help alleviate some of the unnecessary stresses of a busy schedule?
Get A Calendar
Buy one. Print one from the internet. Download an app. Make one by hand if you must. See what your phone can do (unbeknownst to people, even regular cell phones have calendars). The first thing you must do is get a calendar.
Write Down Everything You Wish To Accomplish This Year
Vacations, picture day, ministry opportunities, date nights, family times- write it all down. Prioritize. A good place to start is to ask yourself, “What is it that I wish we could’ve done this year?” By the way, if church is important to you then write different church events you want to have on your calendar.
Pray Over Your List
At this time, we ought to pause and ask the Lord whether we are making ourselves so busy we don’t have time for Him and His people. To be honest with you, there were some things I had to remove from our calendar this year because it was counterproductive to my Christian life. It is possible to get too busy for God! Also, as far as your list, don’t forget to count the cost- compare it with Scripture and your God-given resources.
Schedule a Few Hours Away From Distractions With Your Spouse
It would be a mistake for one person to do the whole calendar. In the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Besides, it may be hard to believe but we may have overlooked something.
As you place things in the calendar, go month by month. Consider the peripheral events since some activities may require some rest before the next. Remember, there are times in our lives when it’s just going to be busy. I call these “push times” and I treat it like a bank. If I’m coming into a push time, I need to make sure to schedule extra down time (time with my wife and family) afterwards.
Make The Calendar Accessible To All
Both parents and older children (pre-teens and up) should have a copy of the calendar. Whether it’s on everyone’s phone or on the fridge, make sure everyone is aware of what’s going on. And before anyone adds anything to the calendar, mom and dad should first approve it.
Live By The Calendar But Be Flexible
Obviously we’re not clairvoyants. Therefore, as funny as it sounds, plan for changes. Certainly there are some calendar events that are set in stone but others dates can be moved around. Here’s the important principle- execute the schedule. If you start canceling too many things on your calendar then it begs the question, why have a calendar at all?
Remember this, “What gets scheduled gets done.” Have a goal as far as the way you live out your day. After all, did not the Psalmist ask the Lord to “teach us to number our days?” Ephesians tells us that we are “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time.” God desires for us to enjoy, not endure, our lives.
You have at least three weeks before 2012 begins. Go through these steps and see how much happier your year can be!