Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time to Simplify

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard I try to keep my time simplified and purposeful, I get distracted.  I used to think that this was a fault and that I really needed more discipline to deal with my easily lost focus.  However, as I've begun to move through life and see how the "determined" live and how the "relaxed" live.  I now know that I don't want either.  I want to live somewhere in a happy medium.

My happy medium involves planning, prioritizing, and goal setting, but now I know that the planning, priority setting, and goal reaching isn't the end goal at all.  It's a process in order to remind me what is important in my life.  Knowing what is important helps me to simplify my time.  If all I do is plan, then I am not living my life at all!  Even if I reach goals through strictly outlined plans, it's not quite as fun as reaching it by just living intentionally.  I want to plan my priorities to reach a very simple goal this year.  I want to grow.

I do not suppose that you have the same goal as me for your year or your life.  Everyone has their own reasons for living life.  My reason for living isn't growth, but my reason for living helped me realize that this year was about me growing.  Do you know your reason for living?  Or do you have a goal that you are working toward this year?  Allow me to help you to simplify your time through a little planning, a little prioritizing, so that you can easily make choices that agree with your goals while living your life.

Planning

Some people believe that you don't get anywhere without planning.  That's not true.  You get somewhere, but when you end up where you end up you may not like where you are.  Planning is about looking forward and laying out a path.  The path may change and life definitely happens, but plans allow you to have an idea of where you are heading.  Take a second to find a piece of scrap paper.  Write down where you see yourself in one year.  Where do you see yourself in five years?  Where do you see yourself in ten?  All of the sudden when you begin to look far enough ahead, you realize that you may have to take certain steps to make that ten year self look like you want your ten year self to look.  Planning is vital, but must only be done periodically.  Again, there is no use spending one's whole life planning instead of living.

Priority Setting

Once you take a look ahead one, five, and ten years into the future you begin to realize that some things must indeed be more important to you than others.  Maybe right now, you are a mother orchestrating the raising of multiple children.  However, in ten years, you will be the mother of multiple teenagers.  When your teens are out playing sports, hanging with friends, and going to concerts, will you be spending time with their dad or your husband?  For me, that makes my husband a high priority even while I'm raising my kid.  Maybe you have teenagers already, where will you be in in ten years when your children are moved out and having children of their own?  Do you want to start your own business?  Do you want to volunteer?  What priorities might need to change now in order to assist you as you transition into being an empty nester?  Take a second with that scrap piece of paper.  Write down your priorities as they are right now in reality (not in wishing).  Now take a second and rearrange them into how you think or know they should be, be sure to add in any priorities that may have been missing from the first set.  Here's the top of my ideal priority list so you can get an idea of what a priority list may look like (no one has a "wrong" priority list, sometimes some are more helpful than others though):

God
Husband
Son
Relationships - Friends, Family, Bible Study Group
Home
Etsy - Orders
My Blog
Etc.

Each person will have their own priorities.  It is KEY to be aware of what you want your priorities to be.  Again, just like with planning, being aware of our priorities (not consumed by setting them) we can intentionally choose our activities and plan out our time.  Priorities make choosing activities simple, because you know exactly what to say yes to and when to say no.

Goal Setting

I still spend January setting a list of goals for each area of my life, but I do not suggest that anyone starts out by setting a massive list of goals or resolutions each January.  For me, this is almost a setting a course exercise where I set my sails and plot my heading for the upcoming year.  Some of my goals come to fruition.  Some remain undone.  However, I know what I want to achieve and I have some sort of compass to guide my decisions.  My success or happiness is not based on whether my goals are met, but rather did I live my life well this year?  For me the question is "did my life glorify God this year?"  Goals set in this manner simplify decisions rather than making every decision a hassle.

Taking Time to Simplify

While all this planning, priority management, and goal setting can seem to make life more complicated. I disagree.  My life is simplified by knowing where I am heading, what my priorities are, and what I'm reaching for in my life.  I can take aim without getting distracted by things that don't align with my plans or priorities.  I can grow in peace without feeling like I'm going to mess up big time.  I know where I'm heading and I know what is important to me.  This simplifies my time.

Do you have plans and know where you are heading in the next year, five years, or ten?

Do you have your priorities set?  Do you make your decisions based on what's most important?

Do you have a goal that you are reaching for this year?  Where are you setting sail to in your life?

Thank you for clicking over to Designing Life today!  I hope you have had some time to think through simplifying your time, I know I have!  I have some goal setting worksheets over at my Etsy Shop, Designing Life.  That is . . . . unless your scrap sheet of paper has been fully adequate for this exercise :-)  Come back soon to check out more Design & Decorating, Home Organization, Simplifying Life, and Printables 4 Life!




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