Tackling the “To Do” List
Mar 1st, 2012 | By Anita Estes | Category: Women of Faith, Words of Wisdom
By Anita Estes –
The kids are gone. There’s no toys on the floor and less laundry, but they’re still bills to pay, groceries to buy, meals to make, things to do and a house to clean! So who and let me add what is going to help with all of this? Your husband? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly not half of what’s on your list. Your grown children? Unlikely candidates. Then who or what? Delegating and Prioritizing.
A character from the Bible sheds some light on these issues. When Moses father in law Jethro saw all the work Moses was doing in judging disputes between the people of Israel when they were in the desert, he offered some sound advice.
“You shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge” (Exodus 18: 21-22).
Great for Moses, but we’re not dealing with the whole nation of Israel and we don’t have hundreds of people at our disposal! But let’s look at the principles involved here. First, get some capable people on board. Make a list of what needs to be done. If you have a spouse, ask them to choose two or three things they can help with in running the household, areas where they shine, have greater ability or just simply can help you. No spouse? Enlist the help of a friend or someone from church. Ask your pastor to recommend people who could help you manage.
Okay so that shortens the list a bit. What next? Invite a friend to join you in doing a household chore. Two are better than one and make the burden less. You could cook meals for the week or maybe even a whole month, like my pastor’s wife does. There’s an art to that, so you might like to look at this resource.
How about grocery shopping with a friend? Okay, so it’s not as fun as buying shoes, but how many shoes do you really need? Maybe you could even enlist a couple of friends and each could purchase a certain list of groceries from a store that has the weekly bargains or the best items on your list. If you don’t have a friend who would do that with you, maybe you could once again ask the pastor for a recommendation.
How about taking your list to friends and comparing it to theirs. Maybe he or she loves grocery shopping and will do it for you in exchange for cleaning, which might be your passion. I know that’s highly unlikely (I personally hate cleaning), but maybe you could offer him or her something you’re good at doing, like taxes—that would be a big incentive to get help with housecleaning.
Okay, so you don’t have nice friends who would do this for you, but there are more alternatives. Don’t overlook enlisting teenagers. Get the help of a friend’s son or daughter to do some odd jobs around the house like cleaning, raking, shoveling, help with organizing etc. Pay them a little, which makes for a good incentive for a young teen.
Of course if you have the money, then there’s always professional help like housecleaners, landscapers and professional organizers, but what if it isn’t a matter of someone else doing it?
That leads to the next suggestion. Set up computerized payments for regular bills and either have them automatically deducted or pay on-line. This saves both time and postage. Now the list is getting shorter and it’s time to prioritize if you haven’t already.
Take a good hard look at your activities and eliminate those that are draining you of valuable energy, like worrying. Spend that time reading your Bible or mediating on God’s Promises. I love “The Bible Promise Book,” which conveniently categorizes the scriptures. Spend time in prayer, which should be a top priority.
I remember a famous preacher saying that the more he needed to do, the more time he spent in prayer. This should never be eliminated, but some things like watching too much TV or computer games could possibly be time wasters. Though this may not be on our “to do” list, some of our activities may be the very things we need to cut so we can tackle that list. That’s why prioritizing all areas of our life is so important as well as enlisting the help of others. Good thing Moses had a wise father in law or he may have died of exhaustion.
Anita Estes resides in the beautiful Hudson Valley of upstate New York with her husband and son. Her work appears in several compilations including God Allows U-Turns, A Cup of Comfort, Deliver Me and Adams Media books. Her devotions have been published in Penned from the Heart, “Upper Room” and on-line. She is the author of When God Speaks: 40 Days of His Promises, Transformed—Inspiring Stories of Freedom and Letters to God on a Prodigal Son—Overcoming Addiction through Prayer. Her blogs: http://anita-