Wisely Managing Our Time

On yesterday’s post Being Early Is a Part of Worship, Valerie left a comment that sparked this post. See many times becoming a mom is the most common factor that causes us as women to be late. When we add the extra kinks that children throw our way it can become overwhelming trying to stay organized enough to be on time.

So this is just some haphazard hints that might help in the time struggles we all face.

1) The day belongs to the Lord.

No matter how we plan and organize our days there will be some days that the Lord has different plans for us. Maybe we have a fun activity planned and one or more of the children wakes up with a fever or is vomiting all morning. This kind of thing used to really bother me before but I have learned that if the Lord changes my plans then it is for a good reason and I shouldn’t stress about it. (Now if the child is up vomiting all night because they ate five doughnuts at supper that is a different matter, that needs a lesson in self-control and moderation. :0 )

2) We have all the time we need to do all that the Lord requires.

This phrase has been in printed on a sheet of paper in a frame in my kitchen window for probably 16 plus years. I find this encouraging when days get overbooked. The Lord has given me enough time for all He wants me to do. So either I have planned too much or I am wasting time in other areas.

Now the less thought provoking ideas.

3) Diaper bag

When we have a child that uses a diaper bag we keep it ready and at the door we exit the home from. It is ready to be picked up at a moment’s notice. We strive to keep it stocked well with diapers, wipes, cups, bottles, changes of clothes, etc. The best time to restock the diaper bag is after returning from a trip. Actual filled bottles or cups is then all that is necessary to get at the last moment. I often kept some bottled juice or powdered formula in the bag for serious emergencies. Some powdered formula and a bottle of water will serve in an emergency even if you have a nursing baby.

Now with a four year old we have lemonade powder packets stored in the diaper bag. Disposable cups, full change of clothes (everything but shoes), and wipes are normally stored in the bag at the door for taking with us. Since we never have accidents, we don’t worry about the diaper bag unless we are gone all day.

4) In the car items

We have seemed to always have to drive long distances to everything so the van stores some items to make life easier. When we have a baby we store a few diapers, wipes and a change of clothes in the under the car seat pockets. This is for those serious emergencies when baby has gone through two outfits in one trip. Believe me it does happen!

We also try to keep a roll of paper towels, Wal-mart sacks, and bottled water stored in the van for a variety of reasons.

5) Church

We spend alot of time at church and we value being on time. This is a few of the things we do that make things easier. Each child has a Bible and a Bible case. These are stored in a large bag under the table at the door. The older children have a pen, notepad and any study material in their Bible cases. They may use their Bibles during the day but then are to return them prior to church. Most of the children also have other Bibles so they may not even use the one they take to church.

The little children have a Bible case, Child’s Bible, crayons and a notepad. We discourage playing with toys during church but we encourage copious note taking. 🙂 The four year old fills pages with random letters all written rather neatly on the lined paper. He has also learned something from mom. I take notes but then later rewrite them or type them in the computer. Once I have done so I mark through the originals so I know they are done. So the baby writes pages of notes and then later goes back and marks them out.

Babies have a special bag that might include a blanket, paci, “Lovey”, and quiet toys (preferably church related). We have had cloth “Bible” books and a Noah’s Ark with small stuffed animals. This bag would be stored with the other Bible cases.

6) Clothes

I try to stay caught up on laundry but that doesn’t always happen. But if there is a special item that must be worn I have tried to encourage the children to make sure it is ready the night before. I don’t like having 30 minutes to wash and dry an outfit before we must leave. This is hard but it is good for the children to learn, one-day moma won’t be around to remind them to wash their uniform the night before.

All of mine are old enough to dress themselves so things are easier now than when there were little babies. But when we had little ones I would always try to get out their clothes the night before. Everything, right down to the shoes, socks and hair bows.

7) Plan Ahead

We have at times had vehicles that were tempermental about starting such that we would have to add in jumping off or hitting the starter with a hammer. Thankfully, that isn’t an issue now but those things did require us to be prepared by starting out earlier or having a hammer in the car.

Traffic is something that cannot always be planned for but if travel were during regular rush hour then we would always leave several extra minutes for heavy traffic.

If you have a baby they tend to always need one last diaper change and a complete change of clothes. We had one that needed a diaper change it seemed as soon as we put it in the car seat. Sometimes this even might require a car seat cushion change or using a different car seat. I always liked to have a spare, which could be bought cheaply used.

8 ) Delegation

Once you have older children they can be delegated responsibilities to help out. One could be in charge of taking the diaper bag to the car. One (age appropriately) could be in charge of fastening a younger sibling in a car seat. When we are gone for the day like for violin lessons everything gets gathered and set near the door. Violins, music bags, stands, school work, books and whatever else is moved to the door area so that they are more easily remembered.

9) Be Prepared

This is where I have the most trouble. Since we drive so far to get everywhere it is wise for us to keep the cars with sufficient gas. The last thing I need when there is an emergency or a morning when we are running late is to have to stop and buy gas. This requires thinking ahead when I’m near a gas station instead of waiting until I get home.
When we have had a vehicle that used oil, we tried to make sure that we had oil in the car and in the garage ready so that it could be replaced quickly.

10) Distraction

If you are always checking one last time for emails, finishing the row of embroidery or anything that will cause you to be late try to overcome that urge. Shut down the computer at a reasonable time, set aside your sewing or that book prior to getting ready to leave.

11) Items to take places

One of newest things we have started is having a lidded plastic container on the table at the door. This is where everything that has a home at someone else’s place goes. Items for Grandmother go here to take next trip to her house. The book we borrowed goes here. The grocery list goes here on errand day. It is easy to check the container to see if anything needs to go somewhere else. If we are doing several of the things we just carry the container to the car with us.

I had a few other thoughts last night but they floated away.

What have I forgotten?

Notice most of these apply to being a mom. What are ways that singles or couples can be prepared and less likely to be late?


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