Many people enjoy a structured work environment in order to keep themselves focused and on task. Often women and men who are retired moan that they don’t seem to have as much time as they once did after their retirement. Too often, the people who are unfortunate enough to be without a steady working position voice the same complaint.
Being a work-at-home mom has sharpened my “unstructured” work skills. No one walked through my kitchen at noon to be sure that the breakfast dishes were safely tucked into the dishwasher and the cabinets, stove and refrigerator were wiped clean. There was no timed schedule that told me I had one hour to prepare dinner. No scheduler informed me that I had exactly 45 minutes to get to the grocery store, load my buggy, check out and get home in time to meet my child arriving at home from school. These were day-to-day choices I had to learn to make myself–all by myself.
Of course, I had a structured office job before my children came. Yet, I didn’t ever seem to put the two things together. Once I came home with a new baby, I found that interruptions–rather than scheduling–reigned in my working life. It took me about ten years to grasp the necessity of making the most of my time.
In reality, it began when I started writing full-time. In those years, I would hurriedly do my daily tasks. Then I would dress to arrive at the office. I found that dressing for success helped me to be serious about the job I was doing. Once in the office which was a fourth bedroom that was my husband’s study, I had a set number of pages that I was required to complete before I could leave the office.
Almost without exception, I found that I was able to complete many more pages than I set as my goal for each day, giving me a sense of accomplishment. Of course, having my first book published and then having my second book sell over a half a million copies didn’t hurt either. Emily Colson, daughter of Chuck Colson and the mother of Max, has written a touching story about her son entitled Dancing with Max. She found that it was the small things which seemed to maintain the large strides in Max’s life.
As Eric Liddell, Scottish Olympic gold winning runner and missionary once said, “I feel God’s pleasure when I run.” I felt God’s pleasure each time I sat down at my typewriter. Having the Lord’s seal of approval on what you have set out to do is extremely important.
While my main ministry would never be writing, the Lord allowed me to understand the principles of time management in those years of full-time writing. It was His precious gift that continues to bless my life.