Keeper of the Home 101: Lesson #2

Time Management

By Crystal Miller

I wanted to start with the next “Keeper of the Home 101” Lesson.  This one is on Time Management.  This month’s article is a continuation of the theme I started last month.  If you are new to the newsletter you can find the first lesson here: Keeper of the Home 101  

My husband said to me the other day, “I wish there were 26 hours in our day, then I could get everything accomplished!”  I had to laugh because I myself had those thoughts; if we just had more time we could accomplish much more or at the very least we could actually get enough sleep! ~smile~. 

Well since we have no chance to increase the hours in our day we have to evaluate the time we have and how well we are using it. We need to ask ourselves, are we being the best steward possible of our time?  Are we valuing our hours as a vital resource and using them as wisely as possible?

With the 24 hours that we do have in a day we know that many of those hours are already claimed.  We need to sleep, eat, shower, relax, spend time with family and husband etc. After these hours are subtracted what we have left is what we have to work with each day.  These hours should be viewed as precious time to accomplish all that the Lord would have us doing! 

In order to arrange our day to accomplish important tasks we first need to know what are the “important tasks”.  This is where we can examine our priorities.  In last months newsletter I shared how determining our priorities begins with examining what we need to do to be a help meet to our husbands.  Begin to focus on those areas in your life and make sure they get top space in your day.  Make a list to help you keep these important priorities in the forefront of your day. 

Become more efficient with your time. Take time to examine how you do things and your methods and see if they can be altered to be time friendly.  Can you do more than one thing at one time? Can you combine trips and have only one or two days out of the house a week to run errands?  Cook a double portion of a meal and freeze one for another day, wipe down your bathroom sink and counters at the same time in the morning that you are combing your hair and brushing your teeth, put Scripture verses on 3x5 cards and hang them in your kitchen and meditate and memorize the verses as you clean your kitchen. 

Train your children to help you. In the long run this will be one of the biggest time management helps to you. By the time my children are 10 to 12 years old they are completely responsible for their own rooms, their laundry, their sheets and they have regularly assigned areas of the house that they are responsible for. Keep everyone on a routine and hold them accountable for their daily jobs.  Do your chores at the same time as they are working to help increase moral and make sure everyone is staying focused.  Don’t forget to turn on some music while you work!  It does add to the enjoyment of what you are doing.

Be aware of things that rob your time.  Over commitment to outside responsibilities is a biggie!  Put a note above the phone or carry it with you: Wife, Mother, and Homemaker!   It’s a simple reminder of your priorities and it will allow you to see if a commitment made will be in keeping with your highest calling.  Keep your husband and family first. 

The telephone is another time robber.  I don’t have a message machine.  The reason I don’t have one is basically I don’t have enough time to spend calling people back.  If someone needs me they will have to spend the time calling me and catching me at home.  Plus there is always email!  Obviously that method won’t work for everyone but it works well for me.  Unplugging the phone is another way to not allow time on the phone to take up too much of your day. 

Yet another time robber is too many activities for your children.  I once had a key chain that referred to mom as the “taxi driver”.  After awhile I got rid of this key chain. ~smile~ I did not want to be a taxi driver for my children.  I decided it was more important to help them learn to be content with more time at home. 

Routines are my best time management tool.  A routine helps keep your day on track.  If you want to learn to manage your time effectively then a routine is a critical key to being able to follow through with your daily tasks.  There is a difference between a strict schedule and a routine.  A routine is a set daily habit of accomplishing your household tasks.  I am not a good schedule person by nature.  So I chose to work by routines or what I call “benchmarks”.  You can read more about benchmarks .  Plan your daily routines to work for you.  Don’t compare how someone else manages their day.  Work to find what will accommodate your life.  You don’t need to be controlled by the routine remember it’s made by you for you!  Don’t be ruled by it.  Be flexible when the need arises but always work to be steady in what you accomplish each day. 

Have a minimum amount that must get done daily and train your children to know what this expectation is.  My children know that before anyone goes to bed the dishes are to be done, the floors are swept, vacuumed and washed (that may be more than most people would do but living in the country with a houseful of kids means that our floors require a lot of attention), the bathroom is wiped down and in order, laundry is going each day, the clutter is picked up.    

One last thought on managing your time is to be reasonable about how much can be accomplished in your life.  Keep your priorities in order and remember that neither you nor I are super-moms!  We are just women with a heart for our mission in life to be homemakers who keep the Lord first and desire to raise our families in a God honoring way.  Don’t take on more than you can handle, don’t expect more from yourself than is reasonable.   Work on those priorities that have the greatest importance in your life.  There may be another time and season for other things you may desire to do or accomplish. 

Obviously time management is a proactive work!  The day will go by no matter what.  The question to ask ourselves is; did we use the time as well as we should have?  Is there room for improvement in the way we use our time?  Are my expectations on myself to high for my season in life?   Keep your priorities straight and make changes to your routine to help you use your time as wisely as possible.