We’re planning to go on a lengthy trip this summer with lots of stops along the way. Do we just jump in the van and start heading down the road randomly stopping if something looks interesting? Do we follow signs to various tourist attractions? Do we flip a coin to decide which direction to start out each morning? Do we just drive until we are tired and wonder if any hotel rooms are available (especially for a family of six)? If we do this, will we ever get to the destination (over 18 hours from home)? Of course not. I have to plan my route (and any fun stops) with my destination in mind!
It’s the same thing when I go about designing what day should look like. I can’t plan out an individual day without knowing where I want to end up – by the end of the day, the end of the year, or even in 20 years. I have to first figure out priorities and goals.
When I was saying goodbye to survival mode, I made a list of the priorities I have right now. I actually found it fairly easy to think of my top 6. They are God, my husband, my children (including their schooling), my home, my health, and our supplemental income opportunities.
Goal writing, I did a bit backward. I wrote yearly goals before I realized that I wasn’t looking at enough of the destination (my priorities).
Some of my goals fit my priorities well:
- one date night a month with my husband
- reading 12 chapter books to the kids in the year
- writing 12 blog posts a month (a combination of my husband and my blogging) and sharing my blog posts on different link-up opportunities
- reading 12 non-fiction books in the year (about various topics like marriage, parenting, homeschooling, and so on)
Other goals maybe fit my priorities, but I need to re-word them to make them more measurable. I mean, how will I know if I “meet” these goals?
- being more consistent in my Bible reading and prayer time
- completing morning devotions with my children on a regular basis
Amazingly, I figured out that some of my original goals really didn’t match my list of priorities at all like:
- completing 12 sewing projects in the year. (I may manage to fit sewing in, but really it is not high on my priority list.)
- making a homemade gift for my parents and in-laws. (I had a gift idea in mind for even last Christmas, didn’t get to it and thought I should put it on my goal list of the year. What was I thinking? While it’s a great idea, it is just not in my realm of expertise, time, or enjoyment to make this particular gift.)
I have added a few new goals, reworded some less measurable ones, and crossed off those goals that I don’t really need to have right now. With my priorities and goals in place, I can now go about designing my day.
For instance recently my daily goals were: finish our current chapter book read-aloud, complete a certain cleaning project that needed to be tackled, washing my husband’s dress clothing since he needed them, making muffins to put in the freezer, emailing someone about a business opportunity, and making a phone call about something needed for our home. All of the things on this list matched the priorities God has given me.
I also have daily routines in place that match up with my priorities – like reading my Bible and praying, exercising/stretching my feet to help my chronic foot pain, and so on.
After finishing my morning routine, I literally sit down with my oatmeal and coffee and start making this daily list of goals for the day. I’m sure for some people this would feel like a waste of time, but just like I can’t plan my long road trip on a whim and not keep in mind the destination I can’t plan my day without priorities and goals. I can’t just go through a day flitting from task to task without a view of where I want to end up. I want to run the race God has put before me to the best of my ability, and keeping the destination in mind is a good place to start.
Even in the Bible we see this concept. Hebrews 12:1b-2 says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Even Jesus kept his destination in mind as He endured the cross. We too need to keep looking to Him as we run this race set before us.
This is the first post in a series on designing my day. In future weeks, I’ll share about:
- Designing My Day with God in Mind
- Designing My Day with My Husband in Mind
- Designing My Day with My Children in Mind
- Designing My Day to keep up with the Housework
- Designing My Day with My Health in Mind