Updated: Oct 25, 2022
March 14, 2022
If you are like me, I can look at the clock midmorning and wonder what in the world got done in the last two hours. I feel like I’ve run a marathon but have little to show for my efforts! Many tears have flowed over “wasted time” and the feelings of incompetence while trying to run a household with little people and a remote-working hubby (who is a tremendous help, I will add!). God is stretching me at this phase of life, and He is teaching me about Himself and He is also teaching me practical ways to run our household more efficiently.
Today, in my quiet time with the Lord, Deuteronomy 31:8 stood out to me.
Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
God goes before me each day, and He already knows what each day holds. No matter what trials come that day, God promises to be with me, and He will never, ever fail me. Knowing that God is with me and will never fail me are stabilizing truths which quiet the noise in my soul. No matter what each day holds, God is present in that day, and He wants me to see Him through all the chaos and challenges.
Slowly, I am learning that relationships, both “God-ward” and “people-ward”, are the most important aspects of life, yet life is made up of many tasks that must be accomplished. I am no professional in time management, but I would like to share a few lessons God has been teaching me. May they be a blessing to you if you are struggling, and if you have life under your belt already, may these thoughts make you smile!
Tips for Efficiency
Surrender your day to God.
At the beginning of each day during my prayer time, I envision myself opening my hands and giving my day to God. Sometimes giving God my day can be hard because I want to fill my day with what I want to do, but God knows best for me. Life is not about doing what I want to do but about fulfilling God’s will for my life. So many times I have found that in surrendering my day to God and giving Him my heart, He helped me to have the right attitude even when the day turned upside down. Many times God helped me accomplish more than I could have imagined on my own.
Reduce the amount of stuff in your home and life.
I would say reducing the amount of inventory I have in my home, whether it’s décor, clothes, food, home products, etc. has been life-changing for me. My efficiency has greatly increased as I have decreased the amount of items I manage.
Do not be in such a hurry.
This may seem like a paradox, but I have witnessed women in their homes sling items around which then caused more of a mess or even damage to the items or the home. Be deliberate in your actions, and deliberation will actually bring confidence and speed over time. Just like a child learning to ride a bike should proceed slowly and cautiously at first, take your time on projects or tasks that you are unsure of.
Again, rest may seem like a complete paradox to accomplishing tasks in your home, but working when you are running on empty is unproductive. Our bodies and minds need rest and rejuvenation. In our modern world today, we cram as many tasks into one day as possible. Sometimes, the best course of actions is to slow down and think about what truly needs to happen and eliminate the unnecessary tasks in our minds. Even taking a quick 15 minute power nap can do wonders in helping you through the rest of the day. Often I lay down on our couch and rest for 15-20 minutes, but that little bit of respite revives my energy.
As you move about your home, keep your brain in gear.
As you move from one room to the next, pick up items that may need to go to the area you are heading to.
Plan ahead as much as possible.
Pull meat out of the freezer for the next night’s meal. Lay out your clothes for the next day. Prep for the next meal a meal ahead (i.e. prep for dinner at lunch time).
Cut out anything extraneous from your schedule or task list.
As yourself, is it absolutely necessary to do ___? What can I cut from my plate? Part of learning to be efficient is stripping away the unnecessary and rebuilding your day with what brings value to your family’s life.
Let the little insignificant things go.
Do not waste time on tasks that bring no value to your life or the lives of others. I have amazing friends who keep their houses immaculate with nary a toy on the floor. I about drove myself crazy trying to pick up after my kids constantly (and we are working on them cleaning up, too!). While I try to adhere to the “one-toy-at-a-time” rule, it does not always happen. Yet we have set times each day that we pick up which works for us.
Have your kids right beside you when you do chores. You may be thinking that is completely inefficient. At the outset, it takes a tremendous amount of time to teach children how to clean and run a home. But think long term: one day the children will be able to help independently in your home. You will also be teaching them valuable life skills and character qualities such as endurance, perseverance, and selflessness.
Quit folding kid’s play clothes.
This is a new one for me! Though I love Marie Kondo’s method for clothes folding, I just do not have the bandwidth to fold every item neatly for their drawers. If I have to choose between moving forward in my business or folding clothes that nobody sees and will just get pulled out anyway, I am going to pick making progress in my business. While I am not a proponent of shoving things in drawers or behind doors, I am learning to relax and not be perfectionistic about items that can stay unseen behind a door or in a drawer.
Use a Timer.
Even as I am writing this post, I have set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes. Using the timer on my phone has helped me tremendously in my own personal development and also working with my children. I tend to get lost in time, and I hate the feeling of having to “hurry up.” Yet, time is limited and must be used wisely, so in an effort to be efficient, the timer keeps me on track. Focusing intently on something for 15 minutes works well for me, like a sprinter expending short, focused bursts of energy. Knowing that I only have 15 minutes to work on something motivates me to get as much done as possible, and if the task is distasteful, I know I can tolerate something for 15 minutes.
Finally, do not compare yourself to others.
I have to remind myself of this truth often. God has given every person different gifts, resources, talents, and even energy levels. Use what God has given you to the best of your ability for His glory!
May you find joy in your home even in the days that do not go "as planned."