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30 minutes a day

I am a mom of three small kids. I work on the side and try to remain stylish in the midst of it all. It’s hard to even hear myself saying this, but often times I really do, in the words of Liz Lemon, want “to have it all.” I want to be an awesome mom, an endearing wife, a tasty chef, a healthy runner, an organized manager of the home, a good friend, Christian, daughter, neighbor, and if i’m being completely honest, the funniest person around.

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But you see, it’s important to take a moment to re-read the first eight words of this post – I AM A MOM OF THREE SMALL KIDS. This works in direct opposition of all my “have it alls” and keeps me far from reaching goals on a daily basis. You know, like being organized for instance. Have you ever set TWO almost two year olds free in your house? Every tiny piece of anything is pulled out and the toilet water (which I had intended to keep IN the toilet as part of being organized) gets splashed all over the walls. A four year old let loose tends to scoot chairs around to reach cabinets, sinks and top shelves for lollipops. And if in a moment of weakness I go upstairs to grab a basket, the clothes I just folded on the kitchen table can be unfolded in NO TIME AT ALL by little hands.

Watching the Food Network is by far my favorite pastime, yet it hasn’t MAGICALLY TURNED ME INTO A GOOD COOK like you might think it would. As a rule, if it has more than four ingredients i’m probably not going to make it and if it requires prep time AND THEN a “chill in the fridge for an hour” I can assure you, it’s not going to happen. Three ingredients into the crockpot is good enough for me. Or turkey and cheese sandwiches with carrots on the side.

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Writing, at times, keeps me sane. I am a freelance writer which I love. Interesting, though, how I keep trying to act like i have office hours but THEY KEEP CHANGING. Why? (Review first sentence of this post)

All this to say, I finally have found a little solace in the midst of the crazy to help me accomplish more and sometimes less (either way, it’s something) and it’s this: 30 minutes a day. Looking at the day in terms of 30 minute increments instead of “how am I going to survive these next three hours until nap time” or “where am I going to find three hours to work” or “I can’t possibly find time to work out!” can help you find your way.

The increments may look something like this:

I take the first 30 minutes of the day to read Jesus Calling, a few verses of scripture and get ready.

Reading 3 to 5 books interactively with my kids usually takes 30 minutes.

The kids get 30 minutes to play alone.

It takes about 30 minutes to prep, serve and eat lunch.

I go for a 30 minute run.

I rest for at least 30 minutes on the couch at the end of the day.

I spend 30 minutes throughout the whole day praying (in small prayer increments). You know you can pray-as-you-go?!

I take 30 minutes tops to prep dinner.

I work for 30 minutes during nap times and it eventually adds up. (And longer stints when Chris gets home.)

I CAN take the twins by myself to the park for 30 minutes. I just have to stretch beforehand.

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I did the simple math and there are 48 30-minute increments throughout the day. By viewing the day in terms of small increments of time instead of huge wads of time, I feel a little less intimidated and often times a bit more productive. And I don’t do the same thing every single day. It always varies according to that day’s demands.

I may not be in the season of “having it all” but it’s important to remember to prioritize. For me, it’s quality time with my family, making sure everyone gets fed, and finding a few moments alone and alone with God to make sure I don’t lose it.

30 minutes a day.

What works for you?

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