I am a testimony of the fact that opposites attract. God knows what we need and what our spouses need as well. I am a planner and and task master to a certain extent. My husband likes to go with the flow and stress in the end. I make decisions based on my gut, but I am flexible enough to make changes if it appears that I have made an unwise choice. It is safe for me to say that I am confident 95% of the time. This confidence comes from God and His Holy Spirit that lives on the inside of me. I cannot wrap words around it. I hope you understand. My husband on the other hand, will tary over a decision until the ninth hour. I have learned patience through the seven years we have been married.
In an effort to keep him from a disaster out at sea, I have been teaching him a principle from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People-Put First Things First (Stephen R. Covey, 1989). I took the course about ten years ago or so and it blessed my life. I am a visual person, and so the illustration of a jar full of rocks, big and small, drove it home for me. Picture this scenario. You have a jar and several large and small rocks, plus a pile of sand. Looking at the jar and all of the contents that need to go inside, one may think that it is impossible. If you put the sand in first, and add rocks big and small, it would be impossible for all the rocks to get in the jar. But, if you put in the largest rocks first, then the next size, down to the smallest, with the sand being last, you will see what would look like a miracle happening. The point to the exercise was to see that if we put the largest rocks in first, everything else will fill in the empty spaces. The same is for the things on our task list. If we take care of the big rocks or high priority items first, we will have time to attend to things that are not so high on the list.
How do we apply this? We are faced with things that have to get done on a daily basis. Here is a way to apply the “Put First Things First” rule:
- List everything that needs to get done each morning before you start your day. It may be helpful to pray before starting this task. ”The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalms 37:23 NLT
- If God gives you order, then you have your priority. If not, it will be important to look at each task and determine what needs to get finished first. Like Stephen Covey, I like to label all high priority items with the letter A, all medium priority items with the letter B, and all low priority items with the letter C. A items need to get done today. It would be nice for B items to get done that day as well, but if they do not, it is okay. C items need to get done that week, but if I have time to do them that day, great!
- Next, I look at all my A priority items and determine what needs to get first. That item is now an A1 priority item. The next would be an A2 item, and so on. I repeat the procedure with B and C items.
- Sometimes, things happen that are not in our control and that is okay. If I don’t finish something, I move it to the next day, on which I would apply the same principles.
You can use this principle with a paper planner system or with a digital system. Make sure you write your task list like this:
A1 Take car to get 15,000 mile service in the a.m.
A2 Order business cards
B1 Pick up dry cleaning
B2 Make groceries ( I live in New Orleans!)
C1 Register for a first time home owners class
C2 Schedule paint time at M. Francis Gallery
And remember this, tasks are for items that are not time specific. For example:
7:00 a.m Hair appointment at Natural Me Beauty Salon
Instead, this would go on our appointment calendar in the time slot for that day. That will be another blog post.
How did it help my husband? If I give him a ‘Honey Do List’ I usually prioritize it for him so that he will maximize his time and efforts. He thinks I am being bossy most times, but is thankful that I did it for him more often than not. He has testified that he does better when he uses it, but old habits die hard. I refuse to be his Life Coach. I only coach women! (smile)
Are you doing something different? Please share it with me. I want to know what works for different people. Thanks for reading my blog post. If you would like to learn time management skills, please set up an appointment with me for your complimentary initial consultation. God bless!