January is always a frenzy for me.
I reevaluate everything.
What am I doing and why am I doing what I’m doing?
I decided to write with more purpose this year so I gave January the theme of ‘time management/productivity’.
I started the month off by tackling one of my major stressors in time management: menu planning.
I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have that more under control.
But I know that time management is an issue for you too because this is probably the number 1 question in my inbox.
“How do you do it all?”
That question stymies me because many of you must assume that I do ‘it all’, whatever ‘it all’ means.
And the irony is? That’s what I ask all my very productive friends, too.
I’m gonna post our daily schedule later this week but I wanted to start with some general principles I follow when it comes to how I spend my time.
1. Do a few things well
I love analogies and metaphors. And it may sound trite to say it but life is like a garden. It’s better to plant fewer things and tend them well. I have often done just the opposite. I get so many things going that I can’t see straight and then I wonder why none of it gets done well. I’m really trying to learn to narrow my focus. What is it that I LOVE to do? How can I schedule my time to do those things and do them well. I love to read and write. That is my passion.
But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked across the internet at some of my very talented friends and said, “Maybe I should start a photography business,” or “Maybe I should start small sewing business,” or “Maybe I should start singing Tammy Wynette songs for birthday parties.”
But the truth is, my plate is full. And if I tended well the things I already do like teach and write and keep the home fires burning, I don’t really have time for a new business venture.
This is the year that I really want to hone in on the things that I love and do well. I want to work hard at perfecting my craft. There’ll always be time for a karaoke business?!
2. Work your passion
Notice I didn’t say just ‘find your passion’. Dust out that part of your brain where your dreams live and ask yourself, “What was I created to do?” The answer to that question is easier than you think. Start with what do you LOVE To do. What is that one thing that when you do it, you lose all track of time? That thing you would do even if you weren’t getting paid or recognized for doing it. Have you found it?
Like Howard Thurman said above, “What is the thing that makes you come alive?”
As a very wise blogger, Tsh, blogger at Simple Mom, said once, find the intersection between what you love to do and what you’re good at and you will have found your element—-the zone or sweet spot where the magic happens.
And maybe you already have a full schedule too but I bet if you used your time more wisely, you could make time to work your passion. Have you always wanted to write music, get involved in a charity, run for office, write a book? Then, what steps are you taking to make your dreams become reality.
That song’s not gonna write itself. Make a commitment to yourself to find what makes you come alive and go do it.
Get up earlier. Stay up later. Work hard at perfecting your skills. They say you have to do something for 10,000 hours or 10,000 times before you perfect it.
That’s alot of hours to work at something. But your dreams are waiting at the end of that challenging road. Lace up your shoes and get going!
3. Schedule margin
I wrote about margin and solitude in my ebook, so I’ll tell you what I said there.
Our lives are chaotic and cluttered and full. We lack margin. We don’t know how to quieten the buzz. We don’t really even want to. But when we lose margin, we lose our humanity. Margin is the space between us and our limits. It’s what gives us the time and compassion to listen. Maybe every good thing that happens, happens here, on the sidelines, in the space between us and our schedules. And we miss it because we haven’t learned to listen. Because we’ve made lives with no margin. No room for what might be. No room for the soul to breathe.
And I’ll add to that today.
Margin is where your dreams are born. Margin is where you find that sweet spot, where your passion intersects with your gifts.
But you won’t find it if you spend your whole life just going through the motions, just doing the next thing.
Get out a pen and paper and find a quiet spot. Write down the things that you really want to do with your life.
And start making time for the things that matter.
I hope you’ll join me in this month’s link-up! We’re meeting here this Wednesday, January 30th with posts related to any of the ways you’re making time work for you. If you’ve been doing the meal planning, link that up. If you’ve written a New Year’s post about your plans and schemes, link that up. If you’re pondered how you can use your time to serve others well, link that up. Almost anything goes here and we can’t wait to see what you’re up to!
**I’m working on making a button for you but for now, you could just drag the above photo onto your desk top and add it to your post.
Books that have helped me schedule my time better are:
1. One Bite at a Time by Tsh Oxenreider. I also just purchased her book Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living.
I love her blog, her podcast, everything she says and does. She’s my mentor and doesn’t even know it. It’s on my to-do list to tell her how much she’s inspired and helped me.
2. Crystal Paine’s ebook,21 Days To A More Disciplined Life has been a big help, too. Crystal has a great blog, Money Saving Mom, about home management and saving money. You’ll be inspired.
3. Micheal Hyatt’s ebook Life Plan, which you get free for signing up to his email service. I also love his podcasts. He’s very inspiring and offers lots of practical advice on productivity.