Sunday, December 15, 2013

Best Invested (with a gift for you)

Scroll down for a little gift... a big picture planning printable

Have you heard the illustration of rocks and sand in the jar?  I remember well the guy who held up the transparent glass,  sharing how we fill can it (our lives) with rocks, pebbles, sand, water.  He held no punches while he boldly encouraged us to live radically for the Glory of the One who has given us all.   The idea is that if you start with the small stuff first, you can't fit in any of the big ones, but if you place rocks in your jar first, the other stuff can slip in around it.  What are the rocks to place in my life?  

I just came across the story again in this post from Living Well Spending Less.  She's got five points to consider that I found really doable and I'm excited.  Excited because I realized after reading it that there's a pattern in my life that I think can be changed for good gain.    

I know I can get much (much) more done in a day when I've written down all the tasks, the pieces, the little projects as well as the big.  Of course, any day might include it's own Vesuvius.... but I still want to plan the best that I can, right?!  So when I write things down, more of the small moments that come loose can be seized, given to a priority rather than putzed away and swept under the rug where everyday never adds up to anything.  

Usually, I try to plan a week at a time:  meals, household admin tasks, appointments.  Then I have a crazy pile of a list at the back of my weekly plan.  That page is all the stuff I don't want to forget about and I'd eventually like to get done, but I've never had a thorough plan to actually do any of it.  The pile page is sprouting weed seeds and growing like a villain.  Clearly a little improvement is needed but I'm still stubborn and unwilling to give up my simple weekly plan.  It's just the way I tick.... 

So how to tackle the back page pile-up?  Well, I've made a bit of a monthly or big picture planner page.  The idea is that what's written there be not just possibilities, eventual goals of never-ending (un)doableness, but real, I-can-finsh-this-thing, hard targets.   My weekly plan will take projects from this new page and add in the daily business so that by the end of the month, hopefully the mountain has  been sumitted.  

Filling in the big picture is something to pray over well.   A little bit less than a seasonal planning retreat, and far more strategic than planning just the urgent responses needed every day.  For this,  I want to tuck away for an hour or two a month to seek the Lord for... How can I make the most of the gift I've been given- the time I've been given- to live best invested for the glory of my King?  How can I make special moments with my husband and kids, to love them well?  What scripture would be best to meditate on/ memorize?  What books should I read and how can I process and apply the learning to gain all that I can from that book?    What people do I need to connect with?  What needs can I minister to and how can I shine as bright as this little light possibly can?    

To make it super special for me and hopefully a worthy gift to share with you (just in case you're a nutty (paper and pen) planner like I am), I asked the artistic wonder Danielle Burkleo to make it lovely.  She sure did.    Simple and sweet.  I love it.  

Here's it is, a printable, as a tiny gift to you, friends.  

The priorities are the big three:  Relationships, Worship, Service.   And then three places where those are played out:  Home, Education, Personal.  Again, this is a place for specifics, targets to hit and take down.  Maybe the truly nutty will need a Dream Page too, or a 5-10 year plan to fuel this one?  I know for me, one tricky thing to pay attention to is that I don't bite off ridiculously more than I can possibly chew. Be ambitious and be realistic.  Lord help me!

Options are endless and the lists might just overflow somewhere...  here's some of what I'll probably include:  Relationships.  Family meetings- topics to discuss, outings with each kid 1:1, Matt's outings with kiddos, family fun night, special plan for Matt and I (we love an intentional at home date night).  For Personal, instead of just piling up more books on my bedside table that I'm in the middle of reading.... still...  I'm going to try to finish reading a book by a finish date (some books, like devotionals, might go under "Worship" or maybe "Relationship".)

Lastly, it's a good thing for me to remember....  Rocks are Hard.  It's hard to get up early, but it's worth it.  It's even a bit harder for me to go to bed early, but it's crucial.    It's hard to carve out time to plan, but I get a serious more done when I do, and almost always, I get the more important things done only when I plan.  Rocks are hard....  but oh to make it happen!  

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."  Psalm 90:12

Enjoy the printable dear friends!
(Being that the professionalism of this blog is just... well... nonexistent, if you'd like to print this but don't know how (I don't know either!) please email me or comment and I can send you the file as an attachment that will be cake to print :)

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