Getting the Most Out of Your Days - Part 1
by Tiffany S.
from Virtuous Daughters, September 2010~Volume 10, Number 6
Everyone has a different personality. I am a very goal-oriented person. I like to be accomplishing something all the time. There are many benefits to this, but along with the trait comes side effects that can be mild or severe, depending on the situation. J For example, I tend to get stressed over menial details or kinks in my schedule. Sometimes I become discouraged over the fact that I did not accomplish much a certain day, week, or month. I have also noticed that I occasionally base my “worth” on what I call my “productivity rate,” which is not right! (I am realizing that just because we are busy does not mean we are busy doing the right things—it’s possible to work ourselves exhausted and get nowhere, just as we would on a treadmill!) The Lord wants me to be a daughter of devotion more than a daughter of commotion! :) He loves me not because of what I do, but because of Who He is! Praise the Lord for that!
However, there is no excuse for laziness or slothfulness. The Scriptures tell us to redeem the time, to be diligent, and to serve our King! How is the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31? “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” If you study this dedicated lady, you will quickly find that she was not sitting around. She did not waste the time that God chose to entrust to her. Instead, she used it fully for His glory and honor! So many people let time slip away as they spend fruitless hours watching television, playing on the computer, sleeping . . . you fill in the blanks! It is important that we do all activities in moderation—even things like reading, sleeping, exercising, cooking, studying, or cross stitch! It’s critical that we think of ways to wisely invest our time here on earth. I recently read in Psalm 39 these thought-provoking verses: “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, Thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before Thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee.” This challenges me to do things that matter for eternity, that will matter in the end. I want to invest my time in building treasures for heaven.
My goal in this article is to give you some practical ideas for how to set and accomplish your goals....
First of all, you will need a notebook (1-subject, 70 page works great) and a folder (one that has pockets on both sides). You may decorate the notebook and folder if you choose; I recommend writing a favorite Scripture or inspiring quote on the front, and maybe some stickers or a picture. (The front of mine has a beautiful picture of pink flowers with the words “Rejoice Today!” and verses from Psalm 118.) These are going to become your year-long companions.
Now ask yourself these basic, fundamental questions: What is important to me? What matters most in my life? What do I want to accomplish? What is my purpose in life?
Obviously, I cannot answer these questions for you, but I will share what I think some of the answers should be. First of all, living for Jesus should be very, very important. He should be our number one priority. Next to that should come our family—serving, helping, supporting, and being a part of that precious unit of society! Of course other people are important also, but you will fill in the page as to what other things God is calling you to. Our purpose in life as a Christian is the same for all—to glorify and honor the Lord. We are created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11), and we need to keep that in mind! But as we contemplate our purpose on a narrower scale, it will vary from person to person. I suggest writing out these answers in your notebook clearly so you can be constantly reminded of them. This outline will also help you plan the goals that you will be filling in on the pages of the notebook.
In the pockets of your folder will go important letters, paperwork, and notes. For example, I store reminders in mine, such as a postcard from a home school conference advertising vendor booths. I also have coupons or catalogs there. (Basically, little “to-do” reminders!) Another topic that dominates the pockets (or just the middle section) of my folder is studying materials (review book, study guide, etc.) Any current projects that fit go there as well—a long letter I am writing; instructions for starting an herb garden; research, notes, and ideas for my next book; advertising ideas for my current book, etc.
The Notebook—After writing your name and date in the inside cover, begin working there. Studying notes, goals and plans, ideas for a project, essays, drafts for letters, and whatever else you deem necessary, becomes a part of its pages!
When I say “plan,” I’m not talking about a mental five-minute planning session. I am speaking of serious planning, where you actually take your notebook and write something down. One of my friends holds a regular planning meeting with her parents, where they discuss what things she should be doing and how she will go about doing them. I think it is helpful to have at least a “yearly plan,” “monthly plan,” and “school year plan.” You may also want to have a “quarterly plan” and a “weekly plan.”
To Be Continued...
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