I am learning something quite profound lately, and I thought I’d share it with the world. It’s the secret to a good life. Are you ready? Here it is:
If you want to live a good life, you need to be intentional about it.
That’s it. Simple I know, but, as our pastor so often says: it doesn’t have to be complicated to be profound.
Want to get into shape? You need to be intentional about fitting exercise into your schedule.
Want to eat healthier and lose weight? You need to be intentional about planning your meals, so you don’t always reach for the unhealthy stuff.
Want to have a healthy relationship with your spouse? You need to be intentional about setting aside time to spend together, and “date”.
Want to have a clean house? You need to have a plan for how and when you are going to do your chores.
You get the point.
I have been thinking about the subject of intentionality as it relates to all areas of life, but it’s spring cleaning time, so the issue of an organized home has been on my mind specifically. If the house is in chaos, this affects the people in the house, their relationships with each other, and this trickles out into other areas of their lives. The home is so important! A desire for my home to be a place of rest, and not stress, for myself and my family, is what is motivating me to be more intentional about how I organize my time.
I don’t know about you, but I am not the kind of person who has to be busy, so I procrastinate, and everything piles up or doesn’t get done. As a result, I am always feeling like I need to catch up. This negatively affects my relationship with the kids because I feel like I don’t have time to play with them. My husband comes home to a cranky wife who just throws children at him, and is snappy. The laundry is piled up and never gets put away. The kitchen is perpetually sticky. Because I am always feeling busy and rushed, I don’t feel like I have time to exercise. All of this weighs on me and makes me feel like a failure, and the cycle continues.
The only way for me to have a life that is sane, is by putting myself on a schedule, and having clear goals. I need a plan. And even though I hate the thought of it, when I make a realistic plan and stick to it, I am always WAY happier. And so is everyone else in my house.
I was on a bit of a routine for a while, but when baby number two came along it all went to pot. This week I finally sat down and created a document on my computer which roughly outlines what my days will look like, and updated my weekly chore schedule. This took a bit of time and effort, but now it is done and I won’t have to do it again. Doing this forced me to think through my priorities, and have clarity about how I am going spend my time – roughly when I’ll do the chores, when I’ll play with the kids, when I’ll have time to myself, and when I’ll exercise. It’s not a rigid schedule, just a flexible routine.
Each day I do one or two chores, which I try to get done in the morning. This makes things more manageable, and gives me more free time during the day. For example, on Mondays I dust. On Tuesdays I vacuum, and sanitize the sinks, etc. I have also decided to do laundry every day, so that it doesn’t pile up. I put a load of laundry in first thing in the morning. The amount of time I spend doing laundry now is way less! It’s folded and put away in 5 minutes.
With regards to meal planning, I sit down one day early in the week and plan out what we are going to eat, and make a grocery list based on the menu. My husband will do one grocery run early on and get everything that we need for the week. This takes sitting down for just half an hour to come up with a menu and grocery list, which is not a lot of time if you consider the amount of time you could spend every day trying to figure out what to have for supper. As a result of this planning, we don’t buy extra things that we don’t need, which means less food goes to waste, and we don’t ever have to wonder what we are having for supper. It also saves money!
So that is a bit of what my plan looks like, and I have to say that this week has been going very well. My house is super clean, and I am a lot less stressed! Setting goals or routines can seem intimidating at first, but once you do it, it just becomes part of your life. It makes the days more orderly, and less stressful. It frees up time for the more important things, and makes that time more relaxing because there isn’t an underlying feeling of guilt or anxiety that comes from knowing there is work to be done.
All of our lives look different – some of us are stay at home moms, some of us work full time outside the house, some are students, some work from home. All of these things are going to affect how we prioritize, and what our routine looks like. But being intentional is beneficial no matter who you are or what your situation is; it will just look a bit different for everyone. If you are struggling, I highly recommend you take the time to think through your priorities, and how you can better organize your time. This simple task can be life changing, believe it or not!
“It’s sad if people think that’s (homemaking) a dull existance, [but] you can’t just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It’s the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don’t want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn’t it?”
– Audrey Hepburn
Food for thought: What are some areas in your life where you need to be more intentional? Home life? Family life? Health? Take the time to set some goals!