This blog post started out with great promise. I was going to tell y'all how to prioritize your entire life and basically be successful at everything, but I realized I'm not there yet myself, so I can't help you with that. I do have some encouragement, though, to help you accomplish meaningful tasks that will make a positive difference in your life and the lives of those around you- so hang with me! While this is primarily geared toward busy moms, I believe this is a good strategy for any busy person.
Let's talk about making good use of our downtime. "What downtime?" you ask. I get it. Life is busy! It seems impossible to squeeze one more task, appointment, call, text, or email into your day. From the time you wake up, until you fall into bed exhausted way later than you should, you are booked solid. But what if there are little spaces of time throughout the day, where we miss opportunities to do small, yet meaningful things, because we haven't planned for them? Waiting for a file to load, on hold with the cable company (they are the worst!), sitting in car line to pick up the kids- what can we do with that "downtime"?
This isn't about guilting you into adding more to your already overwhelming "to do" list, or about guilting you out of playing Angry Birds at the stoplight (if that's a stress-reliever for you or brings you joy, that has value!) It's about living intentionally and adding value to all the areas of our lives. That's what I mean by "purpose"- things that you don't "have" to do but should, that add value. We have to meet work deadlines, we have to take the dog to the vet, we have to renew our driver's license (and just writing this reminded me that mine expired four days ago). We don't have to call a friend we haven't spoken to in a while or play a game of tic-tac-toe with our child, but those little things can have great impacts. So why not purposefully plan them into our week?
Right now, my "to do" list includes: finish the proposal for my manuscript to pitch at my first-ever writers conference in a little over a week; get the house ready for our foster care licensing visit on Monday; and, help my husband plan for the youth retreat at church next weekend. And those are on top of the "normal" day-to-day responsibilities of having three kids and working a full-time "day job". Because I am so busy, I need to be purposeful about not neglecting the "little things". So, I've brainstormed some categories- areas in my life to which I can devote special attention, even when I have just a few moments to spare. Not all of these are necessarily in order of importance. Some of them are, while others are subjective. Here are my categories and some thoughts on what being purposeful in each of them looks like. Remember, these are not your everyday "required" tasks.
Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.
I've created a file to help you plan out some purposeful tasks to accomplish in those rare free moments. One is a Word file, so you can customize the categories to fit your life, and/or save your "to do" list electronically. Or, you can download and print it as a PDF.
I'd love to hear if these ideas helped you in some way! And I'd love to hear your ideas for more purposeful, intentional living and using our time well.
Download the "Filling the Downtime with Purpose" Chart as a Word file or PDF. Links below.
About the Blog
Welcome to "Every Season Blog", a place where I talk about life, family, fun, and all things "writing". Please visit the Devotions & Study blog page for insights to help you grow in your walk with God. If you want to know some stuff about me, click the "About Me" link in the menu. Thanks for stopping in!