For most of us, diving into a new year leaves our heads spinning. We’re coming off of the winter holidays (where we long to celebrate and rest, but often find ourselves in a frenzy), and we’re feeling pressure to put away the old and press into a new year. I can get caught up in looking at what everyone else is doing, and I can get even more caught up in all the things I expect of myself. This year, I was (am) determined to be more about purposeful planning. I want to be sure about my priorities, and I want to be intentional about scheduling my days and hours so those priorities receive my attention. I want to be careful that they minutes and hours don’t slip away with nothing to show for them. This post begins a short series on the idea of “temporary nesting – ” embracing our blessings and living well, but with a forever-focus as we do.
I shared on Facebook a few thoughts for how you can be more intentional with your time, and as I was working to implement them myself, I created a tool I think will help us capture the time, using purposeful planning make it count. See what you can use of the ideas below, and then look below to download your free planner!
Psalm 37:23-24 says “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Every detail! Can you imagine? So as you look at the week ahead, ask Him to give His input into your plans.
Take some time to look back and celebrate blessings and successes from the last week. Open your bible, pray for the week ahead, and plan time to do that each day. Ask God to help you clarify His priorities for you, and then keep those in mind as you fill in your calendar.
Plan “grace-time” – space on the calendar where there are no commitments. Use it to rest, read, get out in nature, or even catch up as you go.
Brain-dump your “to-do’s” on a giant list, including family/spouse/kiddo commitments. Plug those into the calendar as well. I keep a personal planner but also wall calendar in our kitchen so everyone can see what’s ahead.
Plan your wardrobe and work a bedtime routine that helps you prepare for rest, anticipating what comes in the morning. Want to work out? Set out your clothes so you have to step on them to leave your bed. Want to read your Bible when you wake? Put it on the nightstand and set your alarm to leave time to start with it! Turn off devices and dim the lights, take a warm shower and stretch before climbing under the covers.
Prepare Your Home
Just a few preparations can make the days go smoother, and help pave the way to accomplish the things that really matter to you. Straighten and clean the fridge, and take stock of what’s there. “Shop from what you have” before making your menu and grocery list – it saves money and waste! Clear and clean the counters and sink, and make sure dishes are put away. Prep the coffeepot if that is a necessity for your mornings.
Catch up on laundry, and ask the kids to decide what they’re wearing tomorrow. 😉 Pick up the “private quarters” (see below) so you have a welcoming spot to land at the end of the days.
If you keep a “catch-all basket,” empty it into the home for all the random items that scatter themselves around your home. Please tell me random things scatter around your home, too.
Prepare Your Table
Look ahead at the week and note if there are any special circumstances regarding meals. Date night planned, and kids need an easy to grab meal? Are you headed out in the evening for a work meeting or sporting event, and maybe need to plan a slow cooker meal? If possible, prep any recipe items that can be washed, chopped, or thawed, so there’s less to do in a time crunch. Pack lunches for tomorrow so the morning rush is less rushed.
Prepare to Welcome Others
Try incorporating the “private quarters” concept.
When we were young parents hosting a house-full of college students for Bible study every Sunday, I couldn’t possibly make the whole house clean each week before they arrived. To relieve stress and create healthy boundaries, we labeled all the rooms outside the main living/dining/kitchen and guest bath the “private quarters.” On Sunday afternoons, we would do a quick pick-up, dust and on a good day, vacuum, and call it good.
Pray for family and friends, and together as a family decide if there’s someone you need to invite over. Going somewhere new? Consider making a small hostess gift to have ready.
Creating welcome for your family is important, so schedule time to spend together, making memories and space for meaningful conversation.
Plan (or un-plan) social media. Block off times when you’ll check it if needed and connect with others (or maybe you use it for business), but plan to stay off when it’s not scheduled, so it doesn’t eat up your important minutes for real-life interaction.
If you are hosting, there are some simple things you can do to make it easier on yourself, and even more meaningful for your guests – see more here!
These are just a few ideas I’m working on for the new year. What ideas do you have? I’m curious – do you have a set planning time each week where you think through what’s ahead, and what you want to make happen? How do you plan for the things that really matter?
Some resources for you:
I created a “Purposeful Planning Guide” that you can print and use on your planning days. I’m taking a couple hours on Sunday afternoons to prep for my week, and I’ll share in a later post how I’ve incorporated this into my printed planner! Grab it with the button below.
Stephanie has a great download to help you prioritize your days when you subscribe to her list – she calls the concept “maintainable intentionality.”
7 Things to do today to prepare your home for a successful week from Apartment Therapy
Would you like your own copy of the Purposeful Planning guide? Grab it here and shoot me a note to let me know how you’re using it!
Grab this guide to help you plan purposefully for the week ahead!
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