Has this happened to you recently? I start with good intentions looking for something necessary: a recipe. a bible verse. Or, here’s a great example that happened just this morning. I saw a tweet from Roma Downey about voting for The Bible miniseries on People’s Choice. I loved that Mini-series, and know the story behind it, so I want to support it in any way I can. (Wouldn’t it be awesome if it won?!? Take that, nay-saying, negative Hollywood starlets.) But before I knew it, I was clicking through all the categories voting for the ones I really like. Llet me say, I used to feel like I had to see all the options before I voted for these things. I don’t anymore. Well, I don’t usually vote because I haven’t seen half the shows that are nominated. (But that doesn’t bother me!) Here’s another one: I was reading a really good blog post by the daughter of our senior pastor, who has a huge following of her own. She’s an author and speaker, mother, wife, etc. I love her teaching style and was really enjoying this article. But before I knew it I was clicking on other articles, reading her mom’s blog, reading an article by her parents on gender equality in the church…. You see where this is going? While all these things are not BAD, I have plenty of other things I should be doing instead. So. I’ve decided to re-evaluate my priorities, and go back to keeping a running list of tasks before I sit down to have “me” time – or really, before I hit the social media for the day. (My how things have changed eh?!)
Here’s an example of what that list might look like (Yes it is VERY basic – that’s the point):
Table cleared, dishes done
Laundry – start, fold, put away
Sweep kitchen floor / vacuum family room
Prep next meal
Those basic things are the ones that I need to do on a very regular basis (multiple times a day) so that’s what needs to be focused on first, task-wise. But I know that if that’s all I’m focusing on, I’m going to get bogged down in daily mire soon enough. So I’ve decided I’m going to TRY to go to bed earlier (lately I simply haven’t made it to bed before 12:30, work or not!) and TRY to wake up before the kids, at 6:30ish, to get some devotional/ prayer/ Bible study/ journaling in. There was a time when I was very easily praying throughout the day and it really kept me in a good place to be able to do my housework and care for the kids. But not lately. So this is the first step to getting that back.
Here’s another way to go about it: decide what time of day or area of life needs improvement and write down how it would be ideally. Then make a list of what you need to do to reach that goal. For example: “Witching hour” and Dinner time. Ideally I would like the kids to be doing a constructive activity in the kitchen while I’m prepping dinner. This way I can still see them to supervise and hopefully they remain calm instead of fighting over TV channels or toys. I would like dinner to be a safe time to pray, talk about our day, go over our bible verse(s), and maybe tell jokes! Communication and discussion time. In order to do that, I have to plan that daily activity. What will it be? Coloring, painting, matching game, puzzles, work books, an easy craft project? For me personally, this cannot be high-maintenance. It will have to be something the kids can virtually do on their own. Plus I don’t want to choose crafts that require me to purchase a bunch of new things, or use food items that I will actually use or need. This is tricky as my kids are 5 1/2, 2 1/2, and 16 months. But as long as I can focus their attention I think it will be fine. And, it creates an opportunity for them to help clean up after the craft and before dinner.
So what do I have to do to accomplish this? Research some easy ideas to keep them busy. Be sure the table is cleared off before 4pm. Organize the day’s activity so it is ready to go at 4. Tell the kids what they’re going to do and how/where to clean it up when they’re finished. Then have them help me set the table (they already fight over who gets to take out plates & silverware!).
Setting goals, brainstorming, and planning is the key to a happy life, I’m convinced 😉 Although any parent will tell you that if you want to keep your sanity, flexibility is also a requirement.
I went back to a Bible study I wrote last year (I’m so glad I kept these!) and I’ve shared it in the next post with you. Hope it can help!
What helps you stay focused and on task?