This time last year, I found myself complaining daily to God about not having enough time to do the things I wanted to do. I’d been brainstorming non stop thinking of how I can use my gifts to build a business that would both impact the world and leave an inheritance for my children.
Between work, home duties, running errands and serving in 5 ministries at church, I could hardly find time to work on anything. I explained to God that I just want to be productive and fulfill my divine assignment but the days He created were too short lolol. I honestly saw no possible way for me to be as productive as I wanted to be. I was honestly convinced that God would have to either lengthen the days or bless me with a job from home in order for me to be more productive.
A typical schedule for me looked like this:
- 6:00 am- Wake up and dress for work
- 6:50 am- Drive to work/ Pray over my day
- 7:30 am- Arrive at work
- 3:30 pm- Depart from work
- 4:15 pm- Arrive home
- 4:20- 5:00 pm- Shower and rest
- 5:00 pm-6:00 pm – Get done any misc. things I have do
- 6:00 pm- 6:30 pm- Get dressed for church/practice/prayer
- 6:35 pm 6:42 pm- Drive to church
- 8:30 pm- 9:00 pm- Arrive home
- 9:10 pm- 9:40 pm- Cook dinner/prepare lunch for work
- 9:40 pm- 10:00 pm- Eat/watch TV
- 10:00 pm – 10:30 pm- Clean
- 10:30 pm- 11:00 pm- Work on any extra misc. things
- 11:00 pm- 12:00 am- Quiet time/Bible Study
Today, as I look at this schedule I shake my head and laugh. Apart from work and ministerial service, a lot of what clogged my schedule was unnecessary. Since then, I’ve completely transformed my daily schedule. By implementing boundaries and practicing discipline, I have discovered several pockets of free time that I now use to do more of what I want.
Wake Up Earlier
If you are serious about transforming your daily schedule you have to be willing to rise earlier than your day starts. If you work an 8-hour job like me, it’s a good idea to wake up at least an hour before you have to get dressed for work. For example, I have to be up by 6 am in order to leave by 6:45 am. In order to get a good handle on my day, I set my alarm to 5 am. That extra hour gives me time to commune with Jesus, study the Word, drink some tea and whatever else gets my mind ready for the day. Rising early ultimately prevents the morning rush and run that often frustrates us and frazzles our brain before we can get a good thought in.
Set A Time Limit On EVERYTHING
Blogging, vlogging, planning, podcasting, editing, filming, and researching are all time-consuming tasks I have to do EVERY WEEK! Each one can take several hours to complete. Sometimes I would spend so long filming a video I don’t even feel like editing. Or I would spend so long researching a blog topic, I lose interest in the topic itself. I have to be honest though when a certain task takes me long to complete I often get distracted. Sometimes I would distract myself on purpose just to give my mind a break. Timing my tasks has been a lifesaver. By giving myself only 2-3 hours to research and write my blog post, I discouraged myself from being distracted and also challenged myself to be more creative. I even timed my meals. If I know I have a big task to tackle that night, I’d plan a quick meal for dinner that I can also quickly store for work the next day. What’s also great about this is that by putting a time limit on arduous tasks, I simultaneously free up time I could use to relax and unwind.
Implement a ‘block schedule
The ‘Block Schedule’ is inspired by the way junior high schools operate. You have a first period, second period, third and so forth. When you leave one period to go to the next, you don’t do your last periods assignment in the next class because it’s a different subject. Likewise, in our day to day, we have look at each task as a new period. When I leave work to go home, I turn off my work mind, put away my work tasks and be fully present in my next “period”. When you are fully present in each task, you are able to do your best, give your best, and feel your best. Also, this helps to keep is from becoming overwhelmed. If you carry the weight of your afternoon tasks into your evening, you will be too bogged down to even focus on, let alone, execute your evening tasks.
Wind Down An Hour Before Your Bedtime
Wind down time is the time I gave myself to unplug from the world and tune into the presence of God. That means no phone calls, no texting, no social media, and certainly no eating. At 9:30 pm, I put away technology, put a pause on my tasks and I sit before the Lord. Sometimes I start off by worshipping through song and dance and other times I just whip out my Bible, invite the Holy Spirit to teach me, and dive into an hour of study. I know as women we have a million responsibilities and important tasks to tackle, but our most important responsibility is our relationship with Christ. With all the projects I am constantly working on, I have never once regretted setting them aside to commune with God. What’s more amazing is that when we spend that time with God He’ll give us revelations on how to more efficiently accomplish our many tasks.
Adhere To A Nightly Bedtime
The only reason rising earlier works for me is because I gave myself a bedtime. Every night at 10:30 pm I shut down. I pack up my study materials, tidy my bed and turn off the lights. I make sure my atmosphere is conducive to good sleep. Although studies have shown that we need at least 8 hours of nightly sleep to function well, I have found that our bodies and mind adjust to the schedule we set for ourselves. I use to only sleep approximately 4-5 hours a night due to sleeping late and rising early. My new bedtime added an hour and a half to my nightly sleep time and my body has been loving it. I’ll be honest and say I don’t always meet my bedtime due to late church services, but whenever I do, rising early is no problem. Apart from those benefits, I also find that having a reasonable bedtime simply gives me a sense of control over my night. I use to feel anxious when going to bed, but now I sleep much more peacefully because I’m not wondering when I’ll get to sleep or if I’ll even sleep at all. My wind down time prepares me physically, spiritually and mentally for bed so that sleep comes easily.