Tag Archives: prioritizing

Why a Resolution With the Word MORE in It Will Likely Not Be Met

Why A Resolution With the Word More In It Will Likely Not Be Met

I recently looked up top resolutions for the new year—and saw some interesting lists. They were the typical ones you would expect—lose weight, exercise, get out of debt, eat more healthfully, spend time with family, etc.

But what struck me most was the recurring use of the word MORE.

Continue reading

No Thirty Days of Romance? Okay, Let’s Go for Ten! Um, Eighty Hours Then?

Let Your Marriage Be A Witness...

 

Many years ago my husband and I started a cool tradition that we called Thirty Days of Romance during the summer/close to our anniversary. (Read about that here!)

 

In the last two years, it has gotten increasingly difficult to have this romantic time period—yes, you read that right…as our kids got OLDER, it got harder to do! When we began it about eight years ago, we had four kids at home teens/tweens—and we just told them that we were dancing and romancing for thirty days, so don’t bug us. 🙂

 

Continue reading

The Terrible Task List

 

The Terrible Task List

What non-daily jobs do you dislike the most?

For me, it is errands (agghh….they feel so purposeless….then you have to come home and put things away/cook things/organize/store/sort…) and little tasks like writing a letter/email explaining something or preparing a package to mail or cleaning a stack of something….etc.

For those jobs I dislike, I do the following:

Continue reading

Never Get Behind on Dishes and Laundry Again!

Image from scoutiegirl.com

Twenty-five years ago when I was a young mother, housewife, and homeschooler, I had trouble getting all of my work done every day–while teaching a young son to read, keeping a curious preschooler out of everything, taking care of a toddler, nursing a baby, etc. Truly the statement “the days are long but the years are short” was never more real to me.

I had problems that many people who are “self employed” have–plus the added “benefits” of having a lot of littles around making messes and needing seemingly-constant attention. (I really do think they are benefits–but when a man is self-employed, he usually doesn’t have to take care of a home, feed a crew, and provide constant care and supervision to little kids! He just, well, works!)

The greatest problem that those of us who are self employed and/or homeschoolers and/or housewives with littles is that of prioritizing. The second greatest is motivation. Why clean this up when it is just going to become a mess again in thirty minutes? Why fix a hot meal….three hours later, I will need to start another hot meal!

I have found many ways to get the motivation needed to make it through those days of many littles and lots of homeschooling needs–but that would take a book to explain, so for today, I would like to address the concept of prioritizing.

When I had little kids, I loved creating systems–toy storage systems, closet organization, bookshelf perfection. These were things, however, that should not have been high on the priority list. The priority list needed to include daily work, like dishes, laundry, meal preps, child cleansing, reading lessons, and unit studies. Not systems!

My husband would come home at the end of the work day, and I would take him by the hand and lead him through the house, making a path through clean laundry, unbathed children in pj’s, and stacks of dishes, to show him the toy shelves with all of the toys sorted into baby wipe containers with picture labels on each shelf so that the kids could put the toys onto the right shelves. It didn’t even dawn on me that I should have done dishes and laundry BEFORE doing those amazing toy shelves.



After he saw my prize-winning shelves, Ray would roll up his sleeves (literally) and dig in to help bail me out from my day of misplaced priorities. We would get the dishes and laundry done; he would call me “closet lady” –and then we would often repeat the cycle again in a few days. 

As we added more children to our home (and more kids in school), it became obvious that I could not continue to put contact paper on every box that came in the house and hand make labels with bright magic markers. Something had to give–and it was then that I came up with the solution to all of our laundry and dish (and trash!) problems:

Treat laundry, dishes, and trash just like brushing my teeth. I brush my teeth at least twice a day (sometimes three or four if I eat something spicy or I am going out in the evening). And I began doing the same with dishes, laundry, and trash. 

We still adhere to the below schedule twenty-five years later–though I have seldom done this daily work once the two oldest children could handle these tasks, about ages ten and seven–the youngest child or two of the family who can handle the work has always done the daily tasks (so that we more, um, accomplished kids and parents can do harder jobs, like cooking, shopping, cleaning out freezers, weekly bathroom cleaning, discipling teens, mentoring young adults, teaching fractions, organizing closets (!), etc.).





                    TWICE A DAY LAUNDRY, DISHES, and TRASH TASKS


Bedtime: (1) Run the dishes from the evening in the dishwasher
 (2) Put laundry from earlier in the dryer (“fold ups” only; we have always done hang ups in the moment, moving it before it spins out and hanging it up when it is nearly dry so that we don’t have to iron)
3) Start another load in the washer before sleeping

Morning: (1) Unload dishwasher and put away any big dishes that were drying on the counter after last night’s dinner
(2) Fold and put away laundry in the dryer
(3) Move washer load from washer to dryer and dry it
(4) Gather trash all over the house in the big bag out of the kitchen trash can and take it all out; replace bag

Noontime: (1) Do second load of laundry in dryer (fold and put away)
(2) Start tonight’s first load of laundry in washer
(3) Load dishes from breakfast, lunch, snacks, and cooking and run dishwasher

Evening chores: (1) Unload daytime dishes
(2) Load dinner and dinner prep dishes
(3) Bag kitchen trash again and take it out (we only gather from everywhere else once a day, in the morning)


This assumes chore sessions are in place. Even if you do not have good chore sessions right now, you can start with a five minute session before or after each meal and get laundry and dishes done then (even if it is just you doing them). Four five minute sessions can keep everything up if you have a dishwasher. (Note that we do a load or two of “hang ups” in another chore session in addition to that twice-daily laundry schedule. “Hang up” laundry is a weekly chore, separate from the daily laundry.)

When I didn’t have a dishwasher, I still kept this same routine, but I just kept hot sudsy water in the sink all day (reviving it as needed) and washed dishes and put them in the drying rack as I had them, definitely at least after each meal, but I (or a child) would often run out and wash a sinkful here and there.

Doesn’t TWICE A DAY for each chore (fully done–trash, laundry, and dishes) and twenty total minutes of work a day sound completely doable??? It is! You can do this!

Twice a day–just like brushing your teeth!


O is for ORGANIZATION–DAILIES, TIMELY TASKS, AND ABC WEEKLIES!



Once you learn to “Delight in Dailies” and get the things done that need to be done on a daily basis, it is time to get other things done, but what?

I can remember when my husband and I were first married, I would ask him, “How do you know what to do every day when you go to work?” I just couldn’t figure out how he knew what needed to be done.

He would always ask me, “How do you know what to do when a student comes for tutoring?” or “How do you know what to do around the house and with the kids every day when you get up?”

I remember telling him, “I just do.” And he would say it was the same for him at work.

Prioritizing at work and at home are two very different things though. I mean, at work, you have a boss waiting for you to finish something. And you have deadlines, etc.

But at home, once you get the dailies done, everything else that isn’t a daily is always screaming out to you! (Come to think of it, before you get the DAILIES done, everything is screaming out to you!)

I have followed two very simple tips in working on non-dailies:

1. I always do the next thing that is due. I call these my TIMELY TASKS.
(Well, almost….like just now I was printing recipes for my cooking morning tomorrow and I got sidetracked writing this post. Technically, the recipes are due before this because my cooking day starts at 8:30–and this could wait until tomorrow–but I digress!)

Once I am done with my dailies, I always ask myself what is the next thing that has to be done–my editor is waiting on a document; student papers have to be edited for class the next day; tomorrow’s meat has to be marinated; bedding has to be moved to the dryer in order to go to bed tonight, etc.

This one little tip always keeps me moving in the right direction!



2. I have an ABC WEEKLIES list. 


Yes, for many years, I hardly saw this WEEKLIES list, but now I get to some of the things–and I am having so much fun! 

After I get my dailies done–and I have “put out fires” by doing the next thing that is due–then I am ready to consult my WEEKLIES list. (I finally get to organize a closet or clean out the snack cupboard!!!)

But I don’t just have a WEEKLIES list; I manipulate my WEEKLIES list. I go down the list task-by-task and write an A, B, or C beside each one.

Then when I have a chance to do something off of it, I do an A task. And I keep on doing A tasks all week–anytime I get a chance (after my dailies and timely tasks).

No matter what else happens in any given week, I know that I have my DAILIES done; I have my timely tasks out of the way; and I did as many A’s as I could (and occasionally even a B or two!).

This isn’t a glamorous approach. I don’t craft beautiful things. I don’t decorate my home Better Homes and Garden style. I don’t always cook from scratch. I don’t scrub between the washer and dryer.

But I feel like an organizational genius. And my home runs fairly smoothly. And I spend time with my kids and husband. And we eat decent meals. And we always have clean clothes and the trash out of the house….because these things are my DAILIES.

When I was homeschooling a houseful of children, the new readers read, the writers wrote, and I checked their work, read aloud to them, talked to them, and taught them the Bible…because these things were my DAILIES.

Because I always did my DAILIES…..I became an organized homeschooler! 

Everything is always crying out to be done. People want us to do everything. Our extended families need us. Our church needs us. Our ministries need us. Our jobs need us. Our children need us. And we can start to feel like the hamster on the wheel very quickly if we don’t have a plan in place to get to the important things.

My DAILIES, TIMELY TASKS, and ABC WEEKLIES have helped me do that for many, many years!

(Now back to my recipes!)

A Change a Week–Times Fifty Weeks a Year Times Thirty Years…Equals a Lot of Change!

Even just one change a month can equal a lot of changes over a lifetime—and a lot of NOT GIVING UP!

Thirty years ago, Ray’s mentor said, “Sit down with Donna every week and ask her, ‘What change do you think we need to make? What do you need for me to do?'”

He continued, “After you do this for a long time, it will give Donna peace, and she will feel secure that you really care about your family and how to improve it. 

He said, “Then one day, you will ask her ‘What do you need for me to do for you?’ and she will say ‘Nothing at all. What can I do for you?'”

Well, that time of my saying “nothing at all” has never happened yet in over thirty years! 😉 

But he was right about part of it: the peace and security that come from knowing for over thirty years that my husband wants good things for our family as badly as I do is incomprehensible.

A change a week times fifty weeks a year times thirty-plus years–equals a lot of change. Granted, we didn’t do this every single week of our lives. But even if we made a change a month for thirty years….

Twelve months times thirty years equals 360 positive changes. That is 360 opportunities to make our family stronger. It is 360 times to solve problems. It is 360 situations to improve. 

It is 360 painless times to say, “We can do this. We can make changes in this area, and we can make this month better in our home than last month!”

You see memes on Facebook and other places all the time that read something like one of the following:

1. Just do it! The time is going to pass whether you do it (a fitness activity, usually) or not, so you may as well have a good change being made as the time passes!

2. Make the change (again, usually fitness-related). Sixty days from now (or whatever), you will look back if you do it, and be glad you did. If you didn’t do it, you won’t look back and be glad you didn’t!

There is actually no place this is truer than in parenting….
(from Destination Healthy Me)

And so it is with family changes. We all have things to work on in our homes. We need to tweak the schedule, so that things run more smoothly. We need to discipline a child differently so that the child’s behavior is changed. We need to remove so much fun or add more fun in. We need to drop things for our lives to have time to spend on/with a certain child at a certain time. We need to take our focus off of one thing and put it on another until a skill is learned. And on and on and on.

However, those many changes can feel overwhelming when we look at them all at once. (I used to make “Master Changes Lists,” so I know what I’m talking about here!) 

But what if we didn’t have a “Master Changes List,” but instead we just looked at this week, this moment in time, and we decided to do one thing to improve our family….and what if we really carried out the steps necessary to make the change? And what if once we got that change down pat, we took on another problem area and solved it–and again really did what it took to make it better?

Now that doesn’t feel overwhelming at all–and not only does it not feel overwhelming, but it also feels good–and doable. 

We are talking on the Facebook page about how my husband and I kept going–NOT GIVING UP week after week, month after month for thirty years of parenting so far. This is one of the things that kept us going–knowing that we had the ability to change things that were not working in our homes–but also knowing that we didn’t have to do everything all at once.

You can do this! You can have the family life that you want. You can discipline your children properly and in love. You can raise children who have the character of Christ—not perfect, mind you, but virtues in their lives that you know the Lord wants for them. You can have fun in your home, have organization, and develop deep relationships with your children…

…one change at a time…facing one thing today and another thing in another week or month…because even a change a month times twelve months a year equals a lot of change…



Ray and I for our thirty-second anniversary this summer visiting the first place we made changes in our lives–the church where we were born again the year before we got married

Final Tips on Independent Work Lists–Especially for Older Students

image helpformothers

Today I would like to leave you some tips for Independent Work Lists–especially for older students (junior high through high school). These will be in no true order–just some things that I want to re-emphasize from the younger ages as well as things that pertain only to olders.

So here we go:

1. Consider the document or chart that works best for your age child now. Most kids in junior high and high school no longer want cutsie charts. Once you decide you want a genuine paper document, then you have to decide how you want it filled in:

a. As he goes, he lists what he does each day, sort of a daily school journal.
b. You write in a planner each week for him for the following week (page number, number of pages, lesso number, etc.).
c. You have a standard daily Independent Work List that you create in your scheduling program or Excel—that you can customize when something changes, etc. You print this off, put it on a clip board, and have him highlight or mark off as he does things each day.

2. Consider if you are going to make his Independent Work List for him completely or if you will have his input. We liked to choose our high schoolers materials, schedules, lists, etc., with them, so that they have some input in the process–and to help model for them/teach them how to organize, prioritize, etc.

3. Still use some of the elements from the earlier suggestions (for younger kids) that are universal, such as:

a. School is your child’s occupation. It is what he should be about during the day.
b. Put the daily tasks in sections according to time of day or importance–and also in order according to when they should be done.
c. Do your part to be sure that charts are updated, printed, and ready. I know from personal experience that if we are laxed in this–they become laxed real quick!
d. Have a system that works for you every day. Have his list on a clip board that he carries with him/keeps in his school area. Have him highlight as he does things. Have him leave it on your desk when he is done, etc.
e. Develop a “no exceptions” approach to daily independent work. A student doesn’t go to basketball, girls group, youth group, etc., until his daily independent work list is done.

4. Have blanks on the chart to add in any work from outside classes, music lessons, Bible quizzing, etc.

5. Put things that are not dailies where ever they go. This was always a little bit difficult for me. Do twice weeklies go on Tuesday and Thursday (but Thursday is our lesson and errand day…). Do three times weeklies always go M-W-F, even though Wednesday is our “cottage class day” and extras do not get done on that day. This might take a while to get in the groove, but it is worth it to tweak things and make it work.

6. For junior high kids, consider that you might need smaller chunks (maybe two math sessions at 30 minutes a day, etc.). Again, you know your student and  your family situation, so do whatever works best for you.

7. Consider if you want this Independent Work List to be his total chart/list for all aspects of his day at older ages:

a. Do you want to put his devotions, music practice, and outside work on there too?
b. Do you want it to contain meetings/tutoring sessions with you?
c. Do you want it to also be his chore list?

There are some definite advantages to a junior high or high schooler having his day right in front of him in one spread sheet. However, this can also get overwhelming to some kids.

Feel free to ask questions here on FB about the Independent Work Lists–I will try to answer them. I can’t imagine not having homeschooled without our three daily task lists: (1) Morning routines; (2) Chore charts; (3) Independent Work Lists!

Four Things Teens and Young Adults Need





I am an experiential writer. I like to write and speak about things only after I have experienced them for myself for a while. I have had the writing/speaking bug ever since our first born (now thirty) was two years old, and I headed up our children’s church department and taught teachers how to teach, manage the group, etc. (based on my credentials as an elementary education major). However, it wasn’t until I had homeschooled for many years, raised a few babies and toddlers, managed a busy household for a decade and a half, etc. , that I felt ready to talk to others about those things. As a learner, I also like to learn from those who have “been there” and “came out to tell about it”! Smile…

My husband and I began talking about raising and homeschooling teens about eight years ago–when our first born was twenty-two. Now I have seven children ages fourteen through thirty–three of whom are in college and living at home. Guess what? I am more than ready to tell the world what I have learned and continue to learn about raising/discipling teens and young adults in this heart-affecting way that we have chosen to live. If there are even a few things that we have found to work, I want to spread that vital info from shore to shore and sea to sea (okay, that’s a little dramatic, but have you ever had seven kids ages fourteen to thirty at various critical stages of life–let me tell you, it’s more than a little dramatic!).

So…with deep affection and emotion, I bring you a few things that we KNOW teens and young adults need from us as parents:


1. Safe place to talk

They need to know that it is safe to tell you whatever is going on in their hearts and lives. They need to know that you won’t completely freak out (even if you don’t agree)–and that you will love them regardless of what they say in these talks. Our oldest son and daughter (30 and 27) were raised in a pretty strict home. We had rules that did not have logical reasons (see our teen posts for Recipe for Rebellion beginning here: http://characterinkblog.com/day-sixty-eight-avoid-the-recipe-for-rebellion-ingredient-i-rules-without-reason/). We were oftentimes lost, exhausted caring for small children and emotionally drained trying to help young teenagers find their way. However, our son told us that he never wanted turn away from us–in spite of our many faults–because no matter what we made him do, wear, or say, we always gave him “intellectual freedom”–freedom to believe and think for himself (with our guidance but not with an iron fist). Fourteen to twenty-four year olds need a safe place to talk that should be found in their parents.




2. Availability

Are you tired of hearing me talk about this yet? One of the most unfortunate things to me in the whole “teen” thing is that parents sometimes think that they are done or at least almost done long before we really should be done. I have often said, and continue to believe, that children between the ages of sixteen and twenty need their parents more than ever. Why would we work so hard to instill in them our beliefs, to teach them character, to raise them with love and tenderness–just to leave them to peers alone during these ages? They need us. And they need for us to be available when they need us. For some of us, this means not going to our own things (shopping, golf, and, gasp, ballroom dancing) many a Saturday for much longer than we originally thought we would have to give up those things. Parents of teens and young adults–you are not done! There are still some more critical years to make yourself available to these amazing people in your life.





3. Time

This might seem like a repeat of number two, but it really isn’t. Yes, we need to clear our schedules not just to watch them play baseball or go to their concerts; we need to clear our schedules to provide times of availability. We also need to understand the amount of time that these ages take. We have had two of our kids get married so far. The amount of time that it took to counsel them, have fun and plan with them, encourage them, and help prepare them was probably more than my many long days of teaching that child to read or working on chores together! We have three college kids at home right now. They need the “normal” time things–help with college math, reviewing class schedules and seeing how they can squeeze in something that is only offered at a certain time during a certain semester, help changing a tire, and the “as-only-Mom-can-do” edits on their big papers. But they need long periods of time for #1 (safe talking place) and long periods of time of just being there—when they feel friend-less, when the stress of going to college and working is taking its toll on them, when they have a broken heart, when they are questioning something that they have always believed to be true, when they are disillusioned with people and this world….time….and lots of it.





4. To Be Treated Like Adults

If you have been to our parenting seminars or read our parenting book (The Well-Trained Heart), you have likely heard us emphasize the strong link between responsibility and privileges. This point, to be treated like adults, is not to de-emphasize that. We believe that children (and adults!) who show themselves responsible and mature get more and more privileges (hmmm…parable of the talents????). However, many of us treat our sixteen year olds like little kids–micromanaging their school work and homework, following them around to check on each step of their chores, not “expanding the boundaries” of responsibility/privilege in a way that is commensurate with the responsibility and maturity level they are showing. If your teens are still working on that whole responsibility thing and really aren’t ready to have the boundaries widened like you had hoped they would be, at the very least, don’t continue to treat them like little kids in other areas. Give them opportunities to please you and do good things. Set them up for success so that you can expand their boundaries and treat them more adult-like. Quit giving them money for nonsense and toys that keep them playing all the time, and instead provide them with tools–books, computer for school, gas cards, work desk, handy tools, car wash passes, and even fast food gift certificates so that when they are out doing those adult things, they can get gas and a bite to eat. Stop giving them video games, ipods, and individual sports things that twelve and fourteen year olds want/get. Talk to them like adults–don’t ask them where they are going or what they are doing in an accusatory way, but ask them in the same way  you would ask your spouse–in order to determine the schedule and plan for family time. Say, “When will you be home from class–I was hoping we would have some talk time tonight” not “And what time will you be rolling in tonight?” I have so much more to say about treating our teens and young adults like adults, and I will try to address this even more as Ray and I are speaking about some teen topics this summer at some conferences, but I will leave you with this word of advice: The tone in which you speak to your kids tells them right away whether they are being treated in a condescending, child-like way or an adult way. Tone is where I would start.


That’s all for today. I am crying as I finish this article. I have had a couple of weeks of intense parenting of teens and young adults. I truly have the most amazing eighteen, twenty, and twenty-two year old living in my home right now. But their hearts are vulnerable, and they are facing a big scary world. And they need me and Ray to help them finish becoming who and what they are going to become. The needs are so much bigger than getting them to finish their peas and pick up their toys. 

 Our teens and young adults need us! They need our support. They need our advice. They need our encouragement. They need our faith in them. They need our time. They need for us to be available to them. They need for us to treat them with respect. They need us.









“Time in a Bottle”

                                              “Time in a Bottle”
                                                 
                                                               Donna Reish

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

Time. It’s such a precious commodity. Something that those of us who have been parenting, say, for thirty years, with at least six more years of “kids at home” time, have come to  understand the preciousness of.

You know the whole “Enjoy them now ‘coz they’ll grow up too fast!” (Or worse yet, “Enjoy them now ‘coz soon they’ll be preteens back talking you and making your life miserable.” Sadness…) Anyway, I remember people telling me all the time that time would go fast…and I never believed them.

However, during our early parenting years (the first fifteen of them), my husband worked a job that took him out of the house sixty to seventy hours a week at least fifty weeks a year. Because of that, while we didn’t understand that our kids really would “grow up so fast,” we came to put a real value on time. We learned to use it wisely, to be efficient, and to “spend” it on the most important things to us—our kids, marriage, and God.

Time is so similar to money—yet so different than money. Like money, once it (i.e. today) is spent, it is gone—never to be retrieved again. Like money, there is only a certain amount of it—and we always wish we had more of it. Like money, it can be “spent”  foolishly or wisely, invested or squandered, used for good or for evil. Like money, it is valuable and sought after.

 

Unlike money, we all get the exact same amount of it. One of my pet peeves is to hear someone say, “I don’t have time for __________.” Maybe I’m just too literal, but, honestly, we all have the same amount of time to begin with. Granted, some of us have predetermined “time expenses”—such as a large family, an ailing parent, or other way in which our time must automatically be utilized. In that way, we don’t really all have the same amount, of course, because those people’s time is already partially earmarked. However, it is probably more accurate to  say, “I have already allotted my time elsewhere, so there’s not enough left for ______.” (Okay, that’s getting picky…but we all know people who waste A LOT of time—then say  that they do not have time for this or that.)

I’m somewhat of a “time freak.” You know how some people just really seem to love money—and want more and more of it? Well, that is me with time. Every year when it’s time to “spring forward” and move our Indiana clocks up one hour, I go through the house ranting that “someone just stole an hour from me” and “we should do something—I just had an hour stolen,” etc. etc. (To be fair, when we “fall backwards” and gain an hour, I also squeal with delight that “someone just gave me an hour”—“I can’t believe that I have been given a whole extra hour!” And yes, this tradition drives my family crazy!) This afternoon, when my family pulled out to go watch football, I looked at the clock and did my mental math, fell back on the bed and said aloud gleefully, “I have been given four precious hours to do whatever I want to do!” (That’s not really true because this week I start  teaching writing to seventy-four students, so I have some definite “predetermined time expenses” in my life right now!) But yeah, I’m crazy about time.  I love clocks, hourglasses, and time pieces. I have timers in six drawers—and the most used app on my phone is definitely my timer!

Strange time attachments aside, what does time have to do with “Character Training From the Heart” (our new blog name and seminar name) or “Positive Parenting” (our former name)? So many of our New Year’s resolutions, family goals, relationship needs, household jobs, and work tasks could be accomplished much better simply with better time management skills. A funny difference between time and money that we often do not consider is that of “stolen money” or “stolen time.” If someone broke into our car and stole our billfold (and a hundred dollars), we would be outraged. We had been “robbed”—some of our precious commodity of money taken from us. We had plans with that money. We were going to pay a bill or buy some needed item for our kids. But now that money is gone—stolen.

However, we continually allow time robbers to rob us of our time—without being outraged or trying to put a stop to it. We purposely have chosen not to have a television or game system for most of our parenting years. When people asked us (especially many years ago with several kids at home and homeschooling, etc.) how we got so much done, we only needed to say, “We don’t have a television.” And they nodded—they knew exactly how we got so much done.

Now I’m not saying that anything fun should be omitted from your life (my family is at our oldest son’s house watching football and when they return, my husband and I are going dancing!), but I am saying that we can’t complain about not having enough time, we can’t wonder why we can’t get certain things done, we can’t wish for more hours with our kids and spouse—if we let time robbers continually steal them from us (the hours, not the kids!).

We would all love to be able to “save time in a bottle” like the old Jim Croce song says. We would all love to “make days last forever” sometimes. But as the song says, that can’t happen—and “there never seems to be enough time to do the things we want to do….”

So what do we do to “get more time”? What do we do to get more accomplished? What do we do to have more time with our kids? Tune in later this week—for some “Timely Tips”—things that we have found to work for us in the areas of time management and saving that “time in a bottle.”

 

P.S. For those of you who are nostalgic for old music, like I am, I’ll put the Youtube link below to that song. Take a look at the words—they really are poignant when it comes to parenting. And no, I am not just fond of this song because it is an absolutely perfect Viennese Waltz song! Smile…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyTfbtZeGeU

Why a New Year’s Resolution With the Word MORE in it Will Probably Not Be Realized


 

I recently looked up top resolutions for the new year—and saw some interesting lists. They were the typical ones you would expect—lose weight, exercise, get out of debt, eat more healthfully, spend time with family, etc.
But what struck me most was the recurring use of the word MORE.
+Exercise MORE
+Spend MORE time with family
+Get MORE organized
+Pay off MORE bills
+Cook MORE healthy foods
What exactly does a resolution that has the word MORE in it even mean?
MORE than what? By what measuring stick? How will you know when you have achieved it?
Resolutions that contain the word MORE will likely not be realized simply because they are too general, too abstract, too non-checkable—if that were a word.
Any change—be it a New Year’s resolution or a beginning of the school year plan or a new family schedule must be quantitative in order to be met. In other words, there has to be some sort of method by which the resolver can see whether or not the resolution, plan, habit, or schedule has been met.
My husband and I are problem solvers—both of us. Sometimes we butt heads because he has an idea to solve a problem at the same time that I have another, albeit superior, idea. Smile… More often than not, though, the fact that we are both problem solvers has not been a negative but rather an amazing way to propel us to accomplish goals for our family.
In our problem solving, we have had to be extremely specific in what the steps to success were—no use of the words MORE, better, less, fewer etc.
Rather than saying that we would read the Bible or worship with the kids MORE, we said that we would have devotions more often than we didn’t. (This was one of our favorite benchmarks for many good things with our kids through the year–more often than not!)
Rather than saying that Ray would meet with our boys MORE to mentor them, we said that he would meet once a week per boy—or once a month per boy—or whatever the goal was.
Rather than saying that I would read with a new reader MORE, I said that I would read two times a day with the new reader—right after breakfast while the olders cleaned the kitchen and right before I began dinner preparations (with another older!).
The other thing we have found in our quest to be problem solvers is that we can’t solve too many problems all at the same time! In our parenting seminar, Raising Kids With Character,” we encourage parents to choose one or two things from each session that really spoke to them—one or two things that they want to implement or utilize right away in their homes. This keeps parents who have just sat through six hours of parenting lectures from being so overwhelmed that they are unable to implement any of the tips and strategies.
Throughout our thirty-one years of parenting, we have tried to tackle one problem or aspect of our family that needed changed per week (and later one per month or so). We sat down together and decided what one thing we would work on—and exactly how we would work on it (without using those taboo words of MORE, better, etc.!).
Sometimes we want lots of changes immediately! We are so quick to see the areas in our family that need work—and maybe there are many areas that we need to work on (we could always think of many!)….but if we set out to change everything all at one time, we will seldom change anything.
If you have a dozen things you would like to work on this year, consider doing one per month—and really dedicate a month to making that one thing happen…with a plan of attack that is measurable and concrete and doable. Then when that one is realized, add another the following month and so on.
Too many resolutions and too many vague words are both enemies of real change and problem solving. So try to make FEWER resolutions and keep them BETTER! Smile….