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Back in January I decided not to set a resolution. Instead I chose a single word to represent my goals for the year.
I said that I wanted to be more intentional in how I spend my time and how I spend my money. Now that six months have passed, let’s break it down and see if I am meeting my goal.
Intentional with Time
Being intentional with my time isn’t easy. There are so many ways to get sidetracked. I can not count the number of times I have started to complete a task and gotten distracted by a knock at the door, a barking dog, seeing droopy plants, or arguing children. Really, the distractions are limitless.
I am making progress though. These things have helped me spend time the way I want:
I plan out the next day after dinner. Every evening, after the dinner dishes are put away, I mentally walk through the next day. Do I need to pack lunches for a field trip? Do I need to go to the library? What is in my plan book for tomorrow? Taking a few minutes to get organized keeps me focused the next day. Sometimes I write a list of things to do the next day, but I rarely ever look at it. Thinking the day through helps me more.
I limit my time on Facebook. This was HARD. We live away from all of our family and the majority of my friends. Facebook is an easy way to stay connected. The problem is that Facebook is also a HUGE time suck. I certainly never intended to spend hours a day on Facebook, but it definitely happened. I wanted to reclaim that time so I could spend it intentionally.
The StayFocusd chrome app helped me set a strict time limit for Facebook. I programed it to kick me off Facebook once I had reached an hour a day. That still sounds like a lot, but it gives me enough time to check in with friends for a few minutes in the morning before my kids get up, a few minutes at lunch, and a few minutes once the house is quiet at night. Once the time is up, chrome will NOT let me access Facebook. I also deleted my Facebook app from my phone so I’m not tempted to cheat.
I’m finding that I don’t really miss it as much as I thought I would. I’ll be honest, it is nice not reading about everyone’s political thoughts all of the time.
Stick to a schedule as much as possible. My schedule helps me complete the activities that are most important to me. Reading aloud to my kids? It’s on my schedule. Exercising in some way most days? It’s on my schedule. Keeping up with celebrity news? Nope. It is easier for me to make things a priority when I have a time dedicated to that activity. We always read together for a few minutes after lunch. I exercise most days at 4:00pm. The schedule is flexible, but having a plan is working for me.
Intentional with Money
I want to be intentional with money because I want my purchases to reflect the things that are important to me. We vote with our dollars with every purchase we make.
If we buy cheaply made clothing – we are possibly supporting questionable labor practices. If we buy produce from a farmer – we are supporting his family. We don’t always think about this while shopping, but it is true.
My husband and I frequently talk about finances and came up with a few things that make our ‘most important’ list. Talking about it made us vocalize that we prioritize these things above other purchases. We want to be intentional with cutting out the things that are not important so we have money to spend on things that are important to us. Everyone’s list will be different and there is no universally correct answer. Here is our ‘most important’ list:
- Healthy food
- Supporting small independent businesses
I do the best that my resources will allow, striving to do a little better each season. Small changes add up to big intentional results.
One of the ways that we cut back on spending was to reduce the number of Amazon purchases we make. Amazon makes spending money EASY. I love shopping from the convenience of my couch. It saves me a lot of time. It can save me money too when I find a good deal. However, it costs me extra money when I add impulse buys to my shopping cart. It became all too easy to add a new cool book, or board game, or accessory, etc. to my shopping cart. My husband had the same problem so we were definitely spending more than was necessary.
Now we try to limit our Amazon purchases to once a week. We both add things to the cart all week long, but review it before clicking the ‘buy’ button. I usually end up changing my mind and deleting items before we even get around to discussing it.
Let’s face it. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are showing what is important to us by how we spend our time and our money. This is a concept I didn’t fully understand until I made a conscious effort to be intentional with both.
I am pleased with my personal progress due to my 2017 word of the year – intentional. I’m hoping to keep it up during the relaxed days of summer.
Did you choose a word of the year? How are you doing?