Evaluating Your Priorities

Welcome to Day 4 of 31 Days of Mom Mojo – Tackling Time Management.

A few years back I took a survey among the community of moms who gather here at The Confident Mom and they told me their number one struggle was “improving my time management and running my home more smoothly.” This was chosen over finding time for self-care, the need to create routines, ending the morning madness and getting my kids to listen the first time. I was a little shocked. I would have thought the trouble with kids listening would have come out on top, but it didn’t.

If we are going to cover time management, we have to talk about priorities. In order to manage your time well, you have to know your priorities – because even small choices we make as homemakers can impact so many areas. 

If you aren’t clear on your priorities as a wife, mother and individual it is likely that you will become frustrated, overwhelmed and feel like your daily schedule/life is controlling you rather than you controlling your day.  We’ve talked a bit about this the past few days, with Day 1 (Igniting Your Mom Mojo) Day 2 (Stop Complaining and Take Back Control) and Day 3 (What Does Time Mean To You).  Unless you set and resolve to live by your own priorities and not someone else’s expectations, you’ll end up wearing yourself out.

We are ultimately in control of what we allow into our lives and how we will prioritize.

Prioritize means “to put in order of importance”.

As a busy mom you must continually do this over and over again, making choices based on the priorities you have built. In different seasons, I’ve had to re-evaluate where I was, where I wanted to be and how I wanted to be spending my time. This is important – you cannot pass this off and think that things will change. Take charge and action to create the change you desire.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that Priority management is Time management.  This does not have anything to do with how you allot your time necessarily, but knowing your priorities will allow you freedom in managing your time.

Do you know what your priorities are?

Are you living your daily life with those in mind?

If you aren’t clear on your priorities I believe you will continually run into trouble trying to balance everything.

First, decide what those priorities are and make a list.  ****NOTE****  These are my priorities, yours may differ in order of importance ******

My list was easy: God, my husband, my home, my children, my private life, public life. I make decisions based on how the opportunity/task may affect each of these areas.

God comes first for me; ultimately I need to know my choices are reflecting that priority for me and the fear of the Lord is evident in my life and I am obeying Him.

My husband, he is my second priority. I am committed to loving my husband in practical ways, spending time with him, encouraging him, and being his support person. Notice he is far above my children, time together for us without kids is a necessity not a luxury.

My home is next. This one throws some people and it took me awhile to understand this and feel comfortable with this, but what were you given first to care for? A home or children? Devi Titus, the co-author of The Home Experience goes into more detail in how she feels the bible clearly outlines the order.  You can read more HERE on her description of the Dignity and Sanctity of the Home.

We are to be fully aware of all the activities that go on in our homes.  God has given us the duty of being the ‘Keeper of our Home’ – we are to guard the atmosphere and ensure that nothing will cause us to lose peace and love from the environment in our homes. You, a the ‘Keeper of your Home’  have dominion over your environment.  Confusion, anxiety, and strife come when we have lost our focus on the worth and value God places on the home.  Just as your husband is to be Head of the Family, You are given the role of ‘Keeper of the Home’.

You also need to be intentional and avoid making the common mistake of always putting activities with your children above caring for your home or time with your husband. 

It is all about balance and being intentional.

You are responsible for creating an environment for your family to thrive in, God places great value in that and your role to provide that.   If your home is chaotic, filled with angry words, unmanageable or you find yourself rarely at home,  your family will suffer. Of course, there are different seasons and your order may be a little gray at times.

My children are fourth. Understanding where my children are in the priority order makes it easier for me to make decisions. I can look at the big picture and see what else may be impacted negatively and where that falls into my list.  When I’ve taken my role as ‘Keeper of the Home’ seriously and placed an importance on it, things tend to fall into place much easier.

My private life is fifth. Making sure I am taking time for myself, caring for my own needs for rest, exercise and spiritual renewal.  (Honestly, sometimes I feel this needs to be higher and at different times it is!)

Finally my Public life. All of my activities outside the home, from volunteering, working outside the home (at in the home for me!) to friendships – these all are included here. This is where most women have trouble learning to say “no”. But it is extremely important that you can learn to say no, or the other more important areas will suffer.

Don’t let yourself become fooled by what society is telling you that you need to be?  Know what your priorities are and where your strength comes from.

After you have made your own list of priorities then you can take some time to look at how you are actually spending your time now. Take a look at the list you created from yesterday’s post – about how you used your time during a 24 hours period. If you haven’t done this yet, make it happen!

Ask Yourself –

  • What needs to be eliminated?
  • What can I subtract or add from my activities?
  • What’s really most important to you? (Is it more important to take a walk with a neighbor 3 times a week, or sign your child up for a second sports activity)
  • What unhealthy habits need to be corrected in the way I think, act, and respond and even use my time? (Complaining??)
  • Am I choosing to spend the time that I have wisely? Is it reflecting my priorities?
  • Consider your boundaries around your time.
  • Have I included daily time for myself to re-energize myself, however that looks for you?
  • Consider how your choices will affect other members of your family.

Self-management is perhaps a new term you can insert into the old “time management” phrase. It is a more accurate way of looking at the same thing. I much prefer to see it as self-management, because ultimately I am in control most of the time as to how I choose to spend my time and how well I choose to do that. (Remember we talked about this?)

When I am overwhelmed because I have decided to take on one too many tasks then my whole family suffers. I am in a never ending learning process – evaluating where to take things off and what I truly need to add to my days and how it all fits with my priorities. It truly pays to know your priorities.  After all, when mom is doing well, the whole family thrives!

I shared an audio blog on this topic and my personal situation over two years ago that might be helpful for some of you HERE.

Do you subtract something from your schedule before adding another?

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