14 Jan -A timetable for life!

the-schedule

Today my husband and I had a lengthy discussion about my schedule, or should I say my lack of one.

A schedule is defined as “a plan of procedure, which is usually written down. It is for a series of things to be done, or events to occur at or during a particular time: Or put simply a schedule is our timetable for life.”

In theory I fully understand the value of planning my day and having a schedule. The busier our life becomes the more essential a daily and weekly plan is to create enough space and time for everything to fit in. It’s how we maintain a healthy life balance.

However as my husband so kindly pointed out to me today, my schedule, or lack of one is a lid in my life. I go from one event, person, need or activity to the next, and in my head I am scheduling and even writing in a diary, but what I think is flexibility has become a bad habit of cramming too much into my day and week. When we do that on a constant basis our relationships suffer, we suffer, and we can easily end up in “burn out”, or giving up on things God really wants us to pursue in life.

So today I bought a diary, even though it’s only January and I usually don’t bother until February. I’m choosing to lift this lid in my life.

Scheduling is an important life skill because it is the art of planning our activities so that we can achieve our goals and priorities in the time we have available. When it’s done effectively, it helps in the following ways:

Scheduling can greatly reduce our stress. A proper schedule gives us peace of mind, as we know that we have formulated a plan of action, and that our goals are attainable.

A schedule helps us to be prepared for obstacles, as part of a good schedule is including a contingency plan, and space in our day for unexpected challenges or emergencies. We should only schedule 60% of our day, so as to leave room for urgent needs, spontaneous moments, emergencies, or someone or something just “messing” with the plan. (If you are a parent this goes with the territory) Without that unplanned 40%, we can get too rigid and legalistic about our schedules, and run the risk of becoming  boring and uptight.

Planning our daily and weekly activities clearly illustrates whether we are staying focused on what is really important. We soon see what we are spending our time on.

When planning a schedule it’s important to understand what we can realistically achieve with our time. God does do “time miracles” to give us extra time (that’s for another blog), but He also gives us wisdom to live by too.

It’s important to schedule enough time for God, family, friends, exercise, hobbies, and just having fun.

The aim of a schedule is to achieve a good work-life balance. This takes wisdom and prayer, so we need to take the time to pray carefully over our schedule, and ask God to lead us.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:6)

Here are a few ways to begin scheduling your time:

1.Set a regular time to do your scheduling – at the start of every week or month, for example.

A simple and easy way to begin to keep a schedule is to use a pen and paper and organise your time using a weekly planner, or diary. You can also use an “app” or any other tool that suits your situation. Make sure it has enough space for the level of detail you need.

2.Start by establishing the time you want to make available for your work, family, relationships, quiet times with God, study etc.

3.Schedule in essentials in your day/week. What you need to do regularly? When we write these daily activities down it quickly reveals to us what we are spending our time on, and whether we should be or not.

4.Schedule in those things that are a priority and important, as well as those things that cannot be delegated or avoided. Plan these high priority activities in your day when you are most productive, alert and energised.

5.Schedule in a contingency plan. This is my issue; I don’t leave enough time for the unexpected, emergencies, or the “I have to deal with this now” moments. The more unpredictable or flexible our life tends or needs to be, the more “contingency time” we need. If we don’t schedule this time in emergencies will still happen and we’ll end up working late, stressed out, always running behind, and at the risk of burn out.

6.Create a schedule that is consistent in the daily essentials, as this will create positive habits. What do you do every day/week that you can build more consistency into? (eg: exercise, Jesus time, family night, date night, etc)

7.Make sure that your schedule is not too intense. Plan in “down time,” otherwise you will end up stressing over your schedule, which is pointless.

8.Put your schedule in a visible location so that it is easy to see and follow. Following a plan is just as important as creating one. We don’t create a schedule with the intent to ignore it, but if it’s too rigid, or hidden away we just won’t look at it.

God promises that He will direct our steps, and give us a heart of wisdom if we seek Him. Every day is a gift from Him, so let’s make the most of each and every day and unwrap them carefully.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Prayer: Lord please help me to be wise with the time you have gifted to me. Where I am not as organised or as careful with my time as I could be please help me to set a schedule and plan in motion. In Jesus name Amen.

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