After last week’s post on planning, a few of you asked what exactly we do in our Chick-fil-A planning sessions and how we revisit these goals throughout the year.
I’ll give you a brief version here, but you can find a more detailed description of our planning methods, including a biblical foundation for our plans and goals in our book, Shopping for Time.
Look, we’re not time management experts. You won’t find anything new or revolutionary in our methods, but they have worked well for us for a couple of decades now. Mom developed this simple system years ago, and even though we do it in Evernote instead of on a legal pad these days, the process is still pretty much the same.
First we take time to consider our various roles/priorities, which usually come under these headings:
Grow in Godliness
Love my Family
Serve in the Church
Fellowship with Christians
Attend to My Work
Care for My Physical Body
In our book we explain the biblical principles that underlie these priorities, and also how they look different for every woman, depending on her season of life. Because my sisters and I are parenting young kids, we end up spending most of our time on the first two. But for someone who doesn’t have children, you may focus more on other priorities like church and work.
Next, we set goals for each priority. We consider (and discuss—I highly recommend doing this with a friend so you can share ideas and encourage each other) ways we want to grow or improve, and focus on problem areas.Are we getting consistent time with the Lord? What are our biggest concerns for our kids? What ways can we serve in the church this year?
Third, we come up with next steps to make those goals a reality. So I may need to research and decide on a new Bible reading plan, buy a new commentary, or make a list of verses to use in my prayer time. My husband and I always set goals for our kids which require specific actions—often changes to the routine so we can read to them each day, schedule times for Bible study and training, and of course, family fun.
Finally, I put the next steps on my to do list and make the necessary changes to my daily and weekly routine. These are nothing fancy, just lists I keep in Evernote. Each morning I review my list of to dos for the day and each weekend I take a few minutes to plan for the week ahead. Once I’ve translated my goals into next steps and put them on my calendar and to do list, I only need to glance at them from time to time.
By the time we plan again—usually every six months or so—I’m thrilled if I’ve accomplished even half of the goals I set at the beginning of the year. But as my dad likes to remind us, that’s more than if we’d never planned at all.
So that’s the thirty-second version. If it leaves you with more questions than answers, maybe try the book. Shopping for Time may not be the best book on time management you’ll ever read, but at least it is short. Oh, and it pairs well with a Chick-fil-A sandwich and a large sweet tea.