With school, work, and projects picking up again after the summer, the daily demands of our busy schedules (even if they’re only full of virtual meetings and events) can be high. While the return to routine is a seasonal necessity of life, it’s easy to slip into an overload mode without realizing it. How can we enjoy having a full plate without feeling overwhelmed? Today I wanted to share 3 tips for how to manage a busy life.
When our hearts are at peace, our schedules will follow.
It’s easy to be tempted to rush through daily tasks without first spending time alone with God, especially when the appointment calendar is calling. I’ve found that when I fail to spend at least a few moments talking to God in prayer and reading His Word at the beginning of the day, then my day feels bumpy, choppy, and rushed. God may call us to lead a busy, full life as His servants, but He doesn’t call us to skip over our quiet time with Him. Keeping my heart at peace with Him provides a peaceful attitude, even when the daily demands are high. John 14:27 is a beautiful verse to memorize and use as a reminder that we can be at peace even when circumstances are unsettling or schedules are jam-packed:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
When we remember that eternal issues matter most, we will choose our “yeses” wisely.
If people-pleasing is a part of your DNA, then sometimes saying “yes” one too many times becomes the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ll find myself stressed and pressured, unable to smile or take the time to greet someone kindly. Choosing to say “yes” carefully can help tremendously when life is hustling.
The following two questions can help us choose our activities and appointments carefully, and learn when to say “no.” The first question is: Will this activity or appointment have lasting impact? And the second: Is this a one-time or long-term commitment? It’s easy to look at one week of the calendar and feel like “That works with our schedule.” But then when looking at a full month of that same activity, it becomes overwhelming and stressful. Asking the Lord for guidance as we look at our schedule of activities and make daily calendaring decisions is a wonderful way to help us remember that ultimately we desire His will and not our own. I love what 1 John 2:17 says:
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17 (ESV)
When we enjoy making plans and maintaining beauty, we are following God’s plan of order.
When my children were much younger, maintaining a daily routine at home made life more enjoyable for me. A few years passed before I realized that this routine was part of God’s divine design for life. Take a look at this beautiful verse:
Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of hosts is his name. Jeremiah 31:35 (ESV)
He gave a fixed order to beauty so that it could be enjoyed routinely. The creative God we serve loves to see us enjoy daily life. As my husband and I sat by the ocean a few weeks ago, he said, “I know I said this last year, but imagine how long these waves have been turning. For thousands of years, the water has been rolling onto this beach.” And yet sometimes the waves roll in faster than others. Sometimes we enjoy a slower pace, but sometimes the waves toss a little faster. Regardless of the speed of the waves, one of the ways I’ve discovered to enjoy maintaining order is using a planner. Using pocket inserts, memo pad inserts, sticky note inserts, washi tape, and stickers in my planner provides a practical and inspirational way to pattern after my Creator. He wants me to know how to manage time effectively—without feeling bogged down by my busy schedule. My time management strategies allow me the opportunity to fully appreciate all that He has provided.
While God may have called you to a busy life or even a busy season, he didn’t call you to do it alone. So, when your schedule starts to speed up, don’t forget to lean on Him for the strength and guidance to tackle what lies ahead. Choose one or two tips from the list above and commit to implement them in your life over the upcoming months. You might be really surprised at how He can transform what looks like a crazy, hectic day into many peace-filled, beautiful moments.