Our September focus, former procrastinators, is priorities. Yep, determining priorities comes before setting up routine. However, we were looking at the start of school and we all need to get out the door for something. So we got that ball rolling.
Priorities are the most important things for us to do, a limited number of essentials. To look back gratefully, not regretfully, we establish routine to respect and accomplish priorities. They are the bowling pins we want to knock down at the end of the lane. Routines are bumpers that keep our ball in the lane so we hit the pins.
We determine our priorities by seeking God. Where does He want us to concentrate most? Read to my elderly friend? Direct the cantata? Priorities come in all shapes and sizes. Counsel from our husband or trusted friend can provide much needed perspective. Pray, remembering these:
- The loudest noisemaker may not be a priority and the quietest idea might be.
- Activities do not equal priorities though there may be a connection.
- You can facilitate some things that you cannot make happen (learning to read).
- Include rest, play, margin.
- Everything on your do list is not a priority.
Discern, then do. It helps me to view my responsibilities in categories – The Lord/ Husband/ Children/ Home/ Body of Christ/ Outreach. Focusing on even just one thing in each of these areas weekly helps define where my time and energies should go. A job or homeschool are additional areas with priorities.
This wording appeals to me: “What is the most beneficial thing I could do this week? What will I do each day to accomplish that?” We ask the same question for the year and the semester. Establish “priority steps” by the month, week, and day to support those larger priorities and bring them about.
That way we build helpful deadlines into our routines. They serve as landmarks to guide us and move priorities forward.
Here’s a rough example: “Beginning mid-November Jane takes responsibility for dinner on Tuesdays.”
September – Help with general meal prep nightly, practice meal planning and grocery lists with mom, shop with mom
October – Plan, shop for, prepare one dish first two Tuesdays, two dishes second two Tuesdays
November – Plan, shop for, prepare three dishes first Tuesday, entire meal second Tuesday and continuing
Knowing I’m doing the most important things each day brings relief and a sense of progress. I’m assured God is at work in what seems mundane. Getting food on the table three times a day – with a smile – is major!
We can be grateful our limitations throw us on God for discernment of priorities and strength to carry them out. We can be confident that focusing on fewer things helps result in accomplishment and relief.
Writing down weekly priorities and using that paper as a bookmark in my Bible serves as a great reminder to pray and act.
When will you clarify your priorities with your friend or husband?