Time to Plan

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
(Proverbs 21:5)

Most of the time, when we are caught up in the rush of daily life, it seems like too much trouble to stop and make a plan. Usually, we put off serious planning because there are so many other things that “have to be done” we think there is no time left for planning ahead.

But that’s not true.

Slow and steady progress gets us farther than quick and dirty in the long run.

Taking the time to think about what we are doing and where we are going makes sure that we are making the best use of time, doing what is best for that moment. Instead of just doing something, we are confident we are doing the right thing.

You are moving when you tread water AND when you swim, but those two activities serve entirely different purposes. Are you doing the one that is most effective right now? Furthermore, swimming away from shore isn’t all that helpful when the boat sinks.

It doesn’t have to be a full weekend planning retreat. A few minutes at the beginning of the day go a long way toward productivity and maintaining priorities. An hour once a quarter is almost always available, if we value the results.

I assure you, take a deep breath and think about where you are going and how to get there. It’s worth it.

Leaving the House Without Losing Your Mind

The title for this one came from a friend. Pretty descriptive, isn’t it? For those of us who can instantly relate to the phrase, here are some things to think about.

Be ready before you get ready to leave. Allowing enough time in your day to get ready is key here. When you do your daily planning, know what is coming and make sure you can prepare effectively. If not, rearrange or cut something out. Set yourself up for success.

On the way out the door to the ballgame is not the time to think about the snacks you volunteered to bring. If you look at your calendar before grocery shopping, you’ll have the box ready and waiting when it’s time.

It’s so tempting to put off getting gas, but it hurts to have to stop when you are running late. Keep the tank maintained, and you’ll be ready to go.

Replenish the diaper bag when you come home (and still remember that you are used all the clean clothes), and you will be ready to pick it up and walk out the door. It may not be possible the minute you walk in the door, but resetting soon, after immediate needs are met, will save you time and energy in the long run.

Keep items that need to go somewhere in a spot by the door. I have a bench ¬†and a shelf by the front door so I see stuff that should come with me (i.e., a book to return at the library, a gift for a friend). If it’s not the very next trip, I will see it again before the trip I need it.

Strategic things in strategic places. If you always need tissues or wipes wherever you are, keep a pack in your purse, in your car, in your backpack — wherever you are regularly. The less you need to remember to bring with you, the less time you spend.

We have a bowl of individually packaged snacks on the kitchen island, ready to grab on the way out the door as needed. No need to go scrounging at the last minute. They are replenished when needed when groceries are put away, not when it’s time to leave.

Take a minute to plan. Your stops, your route, what you need, etc. Know what you are doing before you pull out of the driveway. It’s safer, for one thing, but it also will eliminate U-turns and confusion. That minute up front pays off with no frustrating minutes later. This also gives you one last chance to remember something you may need to bring with you.

Cleaning up after yourself along the way helps here too. You don’t need to stop to clean the house before you leave just to avoid coming back to a mess. Pick up messes as you go, and you can walk in and out the door with a (reasonably) clean view.