GUEST POST by Jonathan McKee has become a regular guest blogger on this site! He is the author of numerous books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, as well as youth ministry books like Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. You can find his excellent blog here.
Newsflash. I can’t do it all!
Everywhere I go people tell me what I should do. At my dog’s vet appointment they tell me that I should walk him every day, brush his teeth, and brush him. I don’t even like my stupid dog! But I should do those things. Let me just add those tasks to all the other stuff I should do.
They tell me…
•I should floss my teeth every day
•I should wash my face with a 3-step skin care program
•I should walk my dog every day
•I should brush his little nasty teeth
•I should brush him
•I should exercise at least 50 minutes
•I should stretch after I exercise
•I should shave so my wife will kiss me
•I should spend a daily time meditating on scripture
•I should find a quiet place to pray
•I should vacuum my carpet at least twice a week, changing directions
•I should mow and edge my lawn
•I should fertilize my lawn
•I should trim my roses, and keep my hedges pruned
•I should dust my house
•I should have a family meal at least 5 times a week
•I should have good conversations with each of my three kids daily
•I should spend good time in conversation with my wife every day
•I should engage in conversation with each of my employees
•I should drink 8 glasses of water a day
•I should do 5 sets of sit-ups and other core exercises each night
•I should invite my neighbors over for dinner
•I should have regularly fellowship with my church friends
•I should drive the speed limit!!!!
Sadly, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the tasks that bombard many of us. And regardless of the fact that most of these are really good practices… one person can’t possibly do them all!
So what do you cut?
Some of these might seem like no brainers. Report me to PETA if you want, but my dog’s teeth ain’t getting brushed! On the contrary, my time with God and my family are vital.
So how can we manage all this stuff?
THREE TIPS TO MANAGING ALL THE “I SHOULDS”
1.Big Rocks First
Many of you have seen the illustration where you have to combine the contents of 4 jars into just one big jar. The four jars each contain different elements: sand, pea gravel, small rocks, and big rocks. If you fill the big jar with sand first, then gravel, then small rocks then big… they don’t all fit. But if you start with the big rocks and work down… they all fit! Similarly, in life, we need to start with the big priorities first and let the other priorities form around those.
Evaluate what the big priorities are in your life. Your big rocks will probably be your relationship with God, family and friends. Our health might also be one of those big rocks. Then begin filling in the smaller rocks… and eventually sand (dusting your house).
Delegation is an awesome tool. As parents, we need to teach our kids responsibility, so we might as well use this as an opportunity to get some of these tasks done. As your kids get older, teach them to cut the grass, wash the dishes and even brush the dog’s teeth. You get the double whammy of teaching your kid discipline and checking off a few “I shoulds.” As a married couple, divide some of these task. “You dust; I trim hedges.”
Tackle these as a team!
3.Structure and Accountability
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants. “Oh man… the lawn is three feet high and there is now wildlife nesting in it. Maybe I should mow it.” Develop a schedule. “Mow the lawn on Saturday. Read my Bible when I get up. Pray when I drive to work. Floss when I go to bed.”
If you find that you aren’t disciplined in certain areas, then add some accountability to the task. “Mondays I meet my friend Scott and run before work. Tuesday’s I go to the men’s Bible study. Family dinner every weeknight but Wednesday, and we read together as a family before everyone leaves the table.”
Question: What about you? How do you manage all the tasks that you are bombarded with?
Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Share your thoughts here.