What Are Your Priorities?

Usually, we find just enough time to get everyone up and around in the morning, get some work done, run some errands, fix a couple of meals and put everyone to bed. By the end of the day we wonder where the time went and why we're not getting much accomplished outside the everyday stuff.

So where have you set your priorities? What people, activities and tasks are getting the majority of your attention every day? Do you want more family time? Are you wondering where your personal free time went? Would you like some time to breathe during the day? Put your priorities in order and you'll find time here and there just for you.

* God comes first. Time in prayer and Bible study are essential for the morning time. I know I don't feel ready to face the day without Scripture and prayer time before everything else. God deserves the firstfruits of everything we have, including our time. When time with Him is in the forefront of our minds, we can better face the rest of the day.

* Decide where the value lies. Is work taking you away from family? Is your hobby keeping you from attending church services regularly? Are you so busy you don't even remember what your hobbies are? Take a look at what's truly consuming your time and compare those to the things you'd like to be doing. When you put the two lists together, you'll see that you place some of each in high importance. Weave them together and balance out your day.

* Evaluate the time you're spending. Briefly analyze how you spend each hour of the day. You may find that you spend a lot of time running errands when you'd rather be sewing. Can you consolidate trips so you make fewer of them and have more time at home? Think about cooking some meals ahead of time or fixing some in the slow cooker so you're freed up to do other activities.

* Define "critical." Many of the items on our agenda are "have-to's" to keep our homes running smoothly. This includes cooking, cleaning, car pool and some of our errands. The others are things we decide to do in between. Often we label something as a "have-to" when it's really a "I probably should" and it gets bumped up higher on our agenda. If you truly want some time back, spread out those other things over the course of a few days and leave some breathing room for yourself. Not only will you feel better, but you're more likely to enjoy what you're doing.

* Be aware of deadlines. A birthday next weekend will take precedence over Christmas shopping. Fixing dinner for tonight comes before surfing the Internet. If you can put all the tasks for a short period of time into a time line for when they need to be completed, you'll have a great picture of what needs to be done first. Save yourself some rushing later by planning things out now.

* Know when to stop. Why do we often think that we have to push through and finish everything right this minute? Then we get exhausted, find no enjoyment in what we're doing, and make ourselves miserable! Unless it's a life or death emergency, there is no reason why we shouldn't allow ourselves to schedule in some breathing time. Rejuvenate yourself and then tackle that next project.

When you find that extra time you thought you'd lost, spend a little bit of it thanking God for the strength and health to be so busy. We are truly blessed with each moment that we're given, and every one of them should be used for His glory. So look at your priorities in life, in your week and through God's eyes. Then say a prayer and take on the day!

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