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15 Feb – Planning to win!

Scheduling is an important life skill of planning our life so that we can achieve our goals and priorities in the time and energy we have available. It can greatly reduce our stress and give 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 a good schedule includes a contingency plan with space in our day for unexpected challenges or emergencies. Its wisdom to only schedule 60% of the 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). Otherwise we can get too inflexible and legalistic about our schedules and run the risk of becoming uptight and controlling.

Planning our daily and weekly activities clearly illustrates whether we are staying focused on what is really important because 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, so it’s important to schedule 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 take the time to pray carefully over your schedule and ask God to lead you as you plan. 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 help begin to schedule your time and see you achieve your goals:

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, interests, hobbies and 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 are doing and being those things we value 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 to do the 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 can often not 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. Only plan 60% of your day and leave room for “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. When we have little children He also promises He will lead us gently, so if that’s you, give yourself a break and don’t put so much pressure on yourself…There are seasons for things.

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; he gently leads those that have young.” ( Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

Every day is a gift from God, so let’s make the most of each and every day and make a plan to win!

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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