Lately I have felt somewhat frustrated about not getting around to doing some of the things I want and need to do. On some days, I have felt down right OVERWHELMED. So I've been doing A LOT of thinking. I am thinking about how I am spending my time. I've been thinking about goals. And I've been thinking about priorities.
Sunday, I even gathered my family and talked to them about priorities... and of the importance of evaluating the activities in our lives by listing the things we do in categories, such as "Essential," "Necessary," and "Nice to do." (I'm so thankful for what I learned in church that day which inspired this!). I even got out the large dry erase board, and we did this activity as a family.
I think I made it clear that though there are probably many things which would be categorized the same way for all of us... there are also many things which would fall under different categories for different people. I also gave the example that though I list quilting under the "nice to do" section, people who must make their own quilts to keep warm. will place quilting under the "necessary" list.
As I asked the family to add things to the list which they thought might go into each category, I was surprised that Devry thought exercise should go into the "essential" category. That explains his sudden devotion to taking walks and running. :D While I placed exercise in the necessary category, I can see his point of view. After all, as David O McKay (a prophet of God) pointed out... "the man who takes care of his body also takes care of his spirit." Exercise keeps depression at bay, and makes a person healthier and MUCH more able to do both the necessary and other essential things. Exercise can honestly take a life from drab to fab!
*Here again, I told the kids it is important that each make his own list according to his own personal life needs, and that none of us judge another for his priorities being different than our own.
After we made a short list together as a family on the dry erase board I had everyone do this activity for themselves personally in their journals. One son didn't want to do it, so I told him,
"that's fine; you can do it tomorrow for a writing assignment."He sighed and immediately decided to get a head start on his schooling for the next day! lol! (I love homeschooling!)
After the lists were made, I encouraged my family to strive to spend the greater portion of their time doing the things which are essential, then necessary, then nice to do... or rather, to do these things in order so that the most important things always get done and when we leave this life we will not have regrets that we have not done the things which matter most. Not only that... but this life will be so much more rewarding and fulfilling as a result of doing the things which matter most.
One of the kids didn't think he would have any time left to do the things in the "nice to do" list if he did the others first. So I pulled my favorite analogy out (which was also shared again with me in RS that day at church) and shared it with the family.
In this analogy, we likened the "essential" activities to large rocks, the "necessary" activities to pebbles, and the "nice to do" activities to sand. I reminded them that if you place sand in a jar first, then pebbles then rocks, the biggest rocks and pebbles won't fit. But if you place the rocks in first, then the pebbles, and the sand last, it is amazing to see that it somehow ALL FITS.
Our lives are like that. If we simply do what ever we want to do when ever we want to do it (with no order or without prioritizing), unfortunately there never seems to be enough time to do the things that matter most. But if we do the things which matter most, first, the fun things somehow still fit into our schedules. Let's face it... there is something in us that DRIVES us to make time for the things we love to do! The "drive" to do the necessary and essential just don't seem to be nearly as strong.
(BTW. If you have never actually seen the jar example, you may want to try it... it's awesome! :D I was absolutely amazed when I first tried this and discovered that it really is true! First, fill the jar with big rocks, then pebbles, then sand. Then dump it out (knowing that it all fits, because you just did it!) and do the reverse... sand, pebbles, then rocks. They won't fit! :o
People who accomplish A LOT, do so because their priorities are in order; they do what matters most FIRST. This is encouraging to me, because it gives me hope that with a little better prioritizing, I can accomplish a lot more! :D Who knows... I may just get these businesses that my husband and I just joined - up and running! :)
I am choosing to access my priorities - now - and set goals to help me utilize my time better and accomplish more in life... And I just can't wait to see what comes of it! :D
October 16, 2011 - ADDITION:
“We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform”
First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints