A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a friend who is trying to figure out “How to fit it all in.”
That’s something I’m fairly conversant with… fitting things in. Sherri (aka “The lovely and talented Mrs. Peterson) and I have this conversation regularly, and overall, we do a decent job of it.
Here’s the thing about “fitting things in”…
Just about the time you fit everything in… something changes shape! For instance…
- You get the kids school schedule figured out… then it’s summer time!
- You get the work schedule figured out… then you decide you want to lose weight… so where do you add gym time?
- You get your grocery shopping day nailed down… and then you get the schedule for your kid’s soccer games and they’re scheduled… right during your shopping time!
I’ve joked in the past that just about the time I figure out how to be a perfect parent, my kids have a birthday… and everything changes! And that’s a lot how life is… just about the time you get everything fit in… something changes!
So, what’s a decent way to fit things in?
Let me give you three ideas and then one practical tool that will help manage these ideas.
Idea #1 – Minimize
Let’s be honest here… most of us do a better job of adding than subtracting.
We add hours at work, gym time, hobby time, sport schedules, etc. but never figure out what they are going to replace! Typically what they replace are the most important things (e.g. church, gym, dates with spouse/kids).
I encourage you to do this… when you must add something, figure out what you will subtract! After all, you can’t fit everything in if you don’t take something out!
Idea #2 – Prioritize
Here’s an important question, “If everything had to be done at the same time what would I NOT do?”
For instance, if a soccer game and a doctor’s appointment were scheduled at the same time, which one would NOT show up at? The the soccer game of course (unless you are a terrible parent… yes, I’m judging you.) ;-)
Seriously, there are some things you MUST do to live a healthy life (e.g. grocery shop, work on your budget, go to church, work out, go to work, sleep, etc.).
To begin prioritizing, sit down and put these non-negotiables on the calendar, what time is left is for those “other” things… discretionary things..
On my family budget, under expenses I have two categories: non-discretionary and discretionary. Non-discretionary includes things like: mortgage, electric, etc.Discretionary includes things like haircuts, etc. If I have to choose between getting a haircut and paying my electric… I’m going electric.
So, figure out what the non-negotiable/non-discretionary things in your life are… put them on the calendar… and then fit the other things around them. To get you started, a few non-discretionaries for me include: gym, meals, church, family time, sleep, study, etc.
And the third idea for “fitting things in”… if it is possible…
Idea #3 – Delegate
Some things in your life that must be done can be done by someone else! For instance lawn care, auto repair, meal prep, etc.
Obviously there are some that simply cannot (e.g. relationships, worship, exercise, learning, etc.), but the ones that can… GIVE THEM AWAY!
Something that has helped Sherri and me stay on top of an ever evolving schedule is our weekly “Coin and Calendar” meeting.
During this meeting we review our budget, look ahead at calendar items, plan for upcoming expenses and events, and make sure we are on the same page.
Now, because I am part of this system, it is not perfect! We miss the road from time to time… but believe me… in a family with six kids, multiple income streams, and more commitments than you can imagine, if we DIDN’T have the meeting we’d crash and burn!
During this meeting we constantly look for ways to minimize, prioritize, and delegate, and we look at how we are going to fund those priorities!
This plan works!
I know life is busy! I know most people feel overwhelmed! I also know it’s possible to find some space to breath deeply and enjoy who and what is around you!
A couple of resources I’d encourage you to pick up as you navigate this journey include:
My prayer for you, and me, is that we will be persistent in finding and fitting in to our lives the best things!
I’d love to hear from you… what have you found most helpful as you seek to “fit things in”?