By Katie Bennett, Contributing Writer
When I had just one baby, I felt incapable of even running my home. Dizzying lIfe-change and lack of discipline left me feeling ineffective.
Now I have three babies (ages 5, 3 and 1), and I’m running my home better than ever. I share my secrets to making that transition in the Help for the Hopeless Homemaker Online Course.
What’s more, I currently spend 5 hours per day pursuing my personal dream by cultivating the ministry of my blog, Embracing a Simpler Life. Additionally I feel completely able to homeschool my oldest daughter formally next year for Kindergarten.
I feel that I have great, quality time with my kids and husband each day, and I’m spending time in God’s word consistently (I’m currently reading the book of Jeremiah).
When everything is in its place, I am amazed at how well life hums, and how productive I can be! As much as I love a simple life, I also want my life to be fulfilling.
While I am very selective with what I do and conscious of my limits, I’ve also noticed that, because I’m given to idleness, sometimes having that “extra thing” in my life, that thing that forces me to use my time well, is exceedingly good for me.
Perhaps you have dreams you’d like to find some margin to pursue? If God is in it, you should do it! He will provide in ways you never dreamt of. I speak from experience.
In my life, finding the margin to pursue that extra thing, that dream, came down to a few simple principles.
Simple Keys to Finding Time to Pursue that Dream of Yours
To State the Obvious: Priorities
Because I love writing, it was not hard for me to give up TV.
That’s right, I don’t watch TV. I knew this was not a priority for me, so I decided it had to go in order to make room for other things.
Instead of staying up to watch an episode on Netflix, I go to bed soon after my kids do. I’ve replaced TV watching with sleep! This allows me to get up early and accomplish the things at the top of my priority list. For me this means spending time with God and writing.
Last summer I took an online course that really helped me with this called Make Over Your Mornings. I highly recommend it!
Other priorities in my life include: spending time with my kids, teaching them, investing in my marriage, and running my home are also priorities.
Some things are just not–
- Most errands are not a priority –unless we’re out of toilet paper or milk, we can probably do without. And even those things we can do without for a while…
- Shopping is not a priority –I use Stitch Fix for myself and mostly rely on hand-me-downs and generous grandparents for my kids
- Having a spotless home is not a priority –I keep it as tidy as possible, and then clean for just a few hours per week
- Constant play dates are not a priority –We love to see friends, but more days spent at home bring peace in this season of life
Rely on Routine
I cannot say enough about how helpful routine has been for me as both a stay-at-home mom and work-at-home mom.
I was not great at maintaining my home early on, since I had never been inclined towards cooking or cleaning. However, along the way I learned that implementing a few simple daily habits that with diligence (even when I don’t want to do them), makes running a home work!
Rather than picking away at the chaos throughout the day, I’ve learned to attack it systematically. I work harder, yes, but my work is also much more focused. This leaves me plenty of time to attend to my other priorities, while still feeling successful in my homemaking.
I am so excited about the breakthroughs I’ve had regarding my habits and mindsets, I created an online course to teach others! That’s available here.
In addition to these fundamental homemaking habits, I utilize routines in most parts of my day to ensure things get done regularly. When I get dressed, I always make the bed. After my kids finish breakfast, they get dressed, make their beds, and put dirty clothes away with my help.
Right now I’m working through this online course to re-envision my evening routine, and the possibilities presented for how to utilize and leverage my evenings are exciting!
Organize the Day Into Time Blocks
This secret is incredibly powerful. Just today I noticed my kids needed some love and attention from me. I silently committed 30 minutes to play with them.
We played hide and seek and “the night night game” where I laid on the floor, sang with them and read a Bible story. This unbroken, committed time block went a long way to make them feel loved. It also removed the pressure of household and blog responsibilities. It was a win-win, and produced better quality time together. If I don’t do this, it’s easy for me to go a day without more than a few minutes at a time of play.
When I designate time blocks for activities on my priorities list, I am amazed at how long the day suddenly feels!
There is so. much. more. I could be doing. And I’m not. I’ve scaled back meet ups with friends throughout the week. I’ve stepped out of ministry and leadership roles at church. Because I know that homemaking is a ministry, I can feel good about that!
I have many more ideas for how to grow my blog and writing career, but many of them are a big “not now.” I’ve learned patience. I’ve learned how to entrust my dreams to God, no matter what the outcome.
What’s that dream you would pursue if you had the margin?