Recently I had deadlines on two different projects overlap. That doesn’t happen very often. I’m always organized and can handle a snafu, but I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed. This got me thinking about the way I spend my time; personal and for work. I had to ask myself some important questions, like what do I need to put first in my life and how can I balance work and time off?
I went searching for some tips and found a few that I thought would help me prioritize the value of my time.
Start your day with a clear focus. For me, this means starting my day by spending time with the Lord. Prayer or reading and mediating on scripture are a great place to start. I might read something that will stick in my mind or read words that give me strength and purpose. As a Christian, putting the Lord first will always help me figure out how to juggle everything else in my life.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. Ps 18:32
Have a task list. I am not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. In my personal life I am very organized, in my writing life I plot every book before I begin the story. I keep a weekly calendar open beside my computer to glance at my schedule for the week, which gets me in the right mindset to approach each day.
Focus on high-value activities. At my age, keeping healthy is important to me. In fact, it’s high on my list. I take a class at the gym two or three times a week. Not only does this keep me in shape and is good for my body, exercise is also important for my brain. When I’m writing a book and get stuck on a scene or plot point, I go for a walk or jump on a machine at the gym. Every time, I seem to straighten out my dilemma.
This is also true in our personal connections. Spending time with family and friends keeps us healthy as well. I’m guilty of putting off going to events or having lunch with a good friend because I have a deadline. Work will always be there, but we also need quality time with the special people in our lives to remind us that we are not an island. We need people, especially those close to us.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Ps 17:17
Minimize interruptions. This is essential when you work from home. I have a dedicated office. I close the door and concentrate on my word count for the day. I used to write at my dining room table, but in doing so, I was reminded that I needed to empty the dishwasher or put a load of laundry in the machine, or if I was really procrastinating, I would vacuum. Having a separate place to work has increased my productivity.
In the past year or two, more people started working from home, most likely learning that time management is vital. It’s a learning curve, for sure, but not impossible to master.
Limit multi-tasking. This is where I boxed myself in. Too much on your plate is never a good thing, yet at some point in our lives, we’ve all found ourselves in this situation. Plan ahead, if possible. I know life is never that neat and tidy, but if we can try to avoid too much of everything in our lives, we will be so much better off.
…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Heb 12:1b-2a
I took these points and personalized them for me, but I’m sure anyone reading this list can find one or two of these suggestions to apply to your life. Maybe you’ve already hit your tipping point and changed your lifestyle, to which I say congratulations!
As we live our lives, let us never forget the source of our strength and that Jesus loves us, even when we’ve put too much on our plate.
Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author. Family values, a bit of mystery and of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her next Harlequin Heartwarming romance, HIS SMALL TOWN DREAM, available August 2022. For more information about her books, visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TaraRandelBooks. Sign up for Tara’s Newsletter and receive a link to download a free digital book.