I used to be notorious for overcommitting myself and my family. This left not just me frazzled, exhausted and weary for the next week, but even my family!
This happened the most when I didn’t use a paper planner. Nothing against our digital age and the ease it provides for some routines. Schedules and items that need my attention stick better in my brain when I actually take time to write them down on paper. I had finally learned that I function better with pen and paper.
When I write schedules & commitments down, and I see it all in front of me, it is easier for me to see where we are overcommitted, where we need to back off and when we can take family adventures, even if it’s just a picnic in a park. Let’s face it, mom life is hard. Why should I make it harder on my whole family by overcommitting our time and making everyone a tired, emotional mess? Including me!
Moses asks the Lord in Psalm 90:12 to “Teach us to number or days that we get a heart of wisdom.” We should be praying this same prayer and asking the Lord to teach us to number our days and to give us a heart of wisdom. But how do we do that?
- Plan your week.
Write out everything you’ve committed to for the week.
This is a habit I’ve had for a long time, and its benefits are countless. Every Sunday night after the kids go to bed, I write out what is happening in our families lives and when for that week.
I try my best to meal plan for the week during this time. We have learned as a family that when we don’t meal plan, we are more likely to eat out and spend more money than our budget allows for food. While this piece is not my favorite, it brings peace to my mind and helps us avoid confusion to know what’s for dinner ahead of time.
- Don’t fill up your days to 100% capacity, but 70% capacity.
This is wisdom passed down to me that has proved itself extremely helpful and healthy for our family. As mom, I’m the timekeeper for our family. For our family, when we have something every day, we are a worn out bunch before Friday. And friends, that is not a pretty picture in our house. It means exhausted kids and parents, later bedtimes, earlier mornings and usually a good dose of unnecessary drama and tears because we are more tired than we realize.
Just because you see an empty hour or two in your days does not mean you have to fill them up. These are margins of time that should be left unplanned and empty. The margins allow for the unexpected to happen – whether good or bad – and provides flexibility for us to navigate them with less stress than if we didn’t have margins. When the school project takes longer than expected, or that one ingredient was forgotten at the store. Another trip to the dentist is needed to repair braces, or a friend needs you to pick up their kids from school. Without the margins, the unexpected can leave you frazzled and frayed.
And if those unplanned hours remain unfilled, enjoy them!
- Keep the first things first.
What is most important to you? Is it reading time with your child? Maybe having that lunch date with your spouse? Is it completing your Bible study? Or learning a new discipline like Scripture memory?
Yes, plan for those! Make time for what matters most.
If we write down what is most important to us, we plan for that time. We find ourselves protecting it.
I write down in my planner a daily reminder to have a quiet time. This is not to have a box to check every day and feel good about myself, but it’s a reminder that I need to spend time with my Creator and Maker. I need to be in the Word of God putting my eyes and mind on the One who knows me and knows all things.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
My sweet Lee is constantly reminding me, just because it’s good doesn’t mean you should do it. And you know what, he’s right. Just because I can or because I have a little bit of time, does not mean it is best for me or for my family, even if it appears to fit in the margins of life.
8 in 1 to Make Life Run
All of these points led me to create The No Ordinary Day Planner, an 8 in 1 tool to help make the most of my days. I wanted a planner where I could write all our commitments down as a family, but would also help me to surrender these plans to the Lord and to walk with my eyes focused on Him.
- Monthly calendar and weekly planning pages – These are not just empty spaces to be filled, but spaces for you to write down your family’s commitments to see if you are above capacity, to help plan for the margins and to help you say no. Making the most of your time and your families time each month and each week.
- Scripture – The weekly planning pages have Scripture to help focus your thoughts and plans on the Lord by learning about His attributes, His character, who He is. There’s nothing more powerful to get your mind off yourself than to read about who God is.
- Praying for the nations – The weekly planning pages also have a country’s outline. This is a country that does not know the Lord, has been difficult for the gospel to get into, and the people of these nations need us to pray for them to know Jesus. When I feel frustrated by things not going my way, it’s easy to get my eyes off myself by praying for a nation who does not have the freedoms I do to know Jesus. And when I don’t know what to pray for this nation, I refer to the country focus page for that month where there are specific ways to pray and information provided about this nation.
- Prayer & Praise page – How often do we tell people, “I will pray for you.” But after leaving the conversation, we quickly forget. Each month has its own prayer and praise page to quickly jot down prayer needs. Then, we can go back and see how the Lord has answered them!
- To-Do Lists and Brain Dump – We just need this space. Whether it’s a project or house work, it’s so helpful to have a place to write all the to-do items down and have a blank space for creativity or notes.
- Goals & Gratitude – Start each month making 3 goals. When we take the time to write down and acknowledge what is most important to us for that month, we are more likely to do it! On the same page is a place to pause and be thankful, writing down 3 things we are grateful for from the previous month.
- Date’s to Remember – Just because I’m terrible at remembering birthdays doesn’t mean I have to be! Each month has a place to write down those important dates. Having them all in the same place helps you see the big picture for the month and plan accordingly.
- Beautiful, original artwork is throughout the planner. Each month is a hymn inspired piece of art that will encourage and spur you on, often leaving you singing the hymn of praise to the Lord.
Having all of these tools in one place is just what I needed! After using this planner for a year, I have grown in my walk with the Lord, better managed our families’ calendar and time, and I have found myself praying something I never did before, “Lord, teach me to number my days that I may have a heart of wisdom.”
The No Ordinary Day Planner is available as both a paper planner and as a digital download. We would love for you to plan along with us for 2018! You can purchase the No Ordinary Day Planner by going to Kickstarter! Hurry! This is a limited time offer!
Copyright © 2017 by Mimi Brady No Ordinary Day Planner. All rights reserved.