One of the hardest things about being a working outside of the home mom is making room for all of the things I have to, want to and need to do in my life. Working on my schedule this last week and a half has just confirmed for me that priorities are a necessity.
John and I have been working on our budget priorities but that was shelved to make room for the schedule. Just like having priorities in a budget is necessary, so is having priorities in life.
I carry a home-made day planner with me almost everywhere I go. It's a 1-inch 3-ring binder with the clear pocket on the front. I personalized it with some clip-art graphics and the label "Lea's Schedule" printed on a piece of paper and put into the pocket. In it I carry monthly and weekly calendars, my weekly to-do list (I'll write more about that another week), Bible verses I'd like to memorize, my Bible reading plan checklist, a list of prayers that I like to reference regularly, a list of little ways to bless my family, my menu plans, a list of things I need to buy, and two Velcro-closed pocket folders that hold papers - one for class papers and one for research papers - for reading.
Before all of those things though, I have three things:
1. A lovely quote that reminds me God is the only one I need to impress, not people.
2. My "Top 10" list.
3. My personal "Mission Statement."
My "Top 10" list is the list of things that take priority in my life. If something I'm asked to do or want to do or would just like to do doesn't immediately relate to the things in this list, I can let it go or say no or put it on my 'like to do someday' list.
What's in that "Top 10" list?
* My relationship with God
* My relationship with John
* My relationship with Buddy
* My relationship with Missy
* My relationship with my parents
* My PhD work
* Getting my house cleaned out/finishing incomplete projects
* My teaching
* My character development
* My relationship with my in-laws and close friends
I have a mission statement as well that relates to what I believe God is calling me to do with my life in the grander scheme of the world.
I've had all three of these things for some time now, but with re-evaluating and putting together this new schedule, I have realized their importance. Without priorities, my schedule fills up with stuff that is really nice and sometimes helpful and important, but not working toward the goals I have in life.
If you haven't written up priorities, I encourage you to. You might just be surprised.