Fifteen Minute Planning

If you have ever watched TV, I’m sure you have heard the common line used by GEICO insurance: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” What if I told you that 15 minutes of time today could save you a couple of hours tomorrow? That sounds even better than 15%, doesn’t it?! It’s not some magic formula, and it does require a level of monthly planning (see last week’s post)…but I have learned that this small effort yields much fruit in the day to day realities of our home.

When do I take these 15 minutes? I usually take those minutes following dinner. I’m already in the kitchen. I’m already in motion from having made dinner and/or cleaned up and my brain and body have not completely shut down at this point. 🙂 Plus, dinner is typically an every day “norm” in the Pichura home…so, I have built in accountability to keep up this 15 minute routine when it’s attached to something I already do each day. 

What does this 15 minutes look like? It’s simply a matter of pulling out your planner/calendar and taking a look at the next day. What do you have planned for dinner? Is there something that needs to be pulled out of the freezer and defrosted? Is there something you can quickly prep for the next evening that will help make the meal a whole lot easier to prepare? Do you have all of the ingredients or did something slip through the cracks of your grocery list and you need to pick something up in the morning (when you will already be out)…or ask your hubby to do it for you on his way home from work?  Just taking a moment or two to think through the meal for tomorrow can save you a lot of time and headache the next day!  

How else do I use these 15 minutes?  I examine the next few days’ schedule. Is there anything that the kids are supposed to take to school? Is there a baked good I signed up to bring to a church event that I need to plan time to make? Is there a sporting event that will require an altering of dinner plans, or are we having someone over and I need to plan a few extra minutes to pick up the house and run the vacuum? Am I teaching Jr. Church this Sunday? Just being AWARE of the needs, obligations, and responsibilities of a given week helps me to prioritize each day and maximize the time God has given me. 

Do you see how this saves us all time…and maybe some emotional stress, too? 🙂 Instead of scrambling around, feeling dragged behind the events of each day, there is a calm, steadfastness of spirit. Or, in the words of Proverbs 31, we just might be able to “laugh at the time to come” as we seek to “watch over the activities of (our) household” and never be idle. When our hearts are at rest in Jesus as we seek to walk wisely, the overflow is more likely to be an illustration of verse 26: “Her mouth speaks wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue.” 

That is really the heartbeat to 15 minute planning…it’s a heart at rest in Jesus! Because, if your life is anything like mine, even when I do plan, life does not always go according to those plans. There tend to be many “interruptions” that can quickly cause frustration in my heart as I watch my plans come crumbling down. I love C.S. Lewis’s perspective on this: 

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.” 

God is the one who ordains and orders our days, and ultimately we must submit every plan we make to His sovereign care. Our hope can never be in our well thought-out plans, but in God, who promises to work out His will in our life and bring His purposes to completion. His plans are always best, and praise Him, His plans always prevail! 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the Lord’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. Lord, your faithful love endures forever; do not abandon the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8

“You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand eternal pleasures.” Ps. 16:11

“Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life…” Psalms 23:6a

(I can’t stress enough how much the book “Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed” flavored these last few posts and has been instrumental in shaping the way I seek to order my days and pursue discipline to the glory of God!)

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