Organizational and creative ways to manage our lives

Wise counsel

When my husband was called as bishop, I had been serving as stake Primary president for about a year. Our family had to come up with some organizational and creative ways to manage our lives. This is how we did it:

  • Prayed. I received some wise counsel, to pray every morning that I could accomplish what needed to be done that day. It worked. Whatever didn't get done was there the next day — waiting.
  • Sought help. My husband and I had great counselors we could call on for anything. We also sought help when needed from family, friends, home teachers, visiting teachers, etc.
  • Prioritized. We decided that besides Monday evenings, dinner time was family time. We tried to have everyone home at the same time. We scheduled family outings at least once a month and vacations whenever school was out.
  • Organized. The children had to pitch in and learn to do things that I normally did for them. Everyone had their chores and was assigned to cook dinner one night a week. The children enjoyed planning their menus and looked forward to their night to be in charge.

We all learned a great deal during those years. I learned to reorganize my standards for a clean house and let go of the idea that I was the only one who could load the dishwasher correctly. — LaRay Figueroa, Oxnard, Calif.

Lasting priorities

We live in a day of almost limitless possibilities in terms of career choice and recreational or enrichment opportunities. Indeed, we and our children can take advantage of activities unheard of 50 years ago. But with those choices come great challenges. The demands of work have pushed many to a 45- to 50-hour work week. The increased activities at home have taxed parents as they run kids to this or that activity. In addition, the Lord has indeed begun to "hasten his work in its time," requiring more of His saints. The question of balance, then, becomes a trial of our day, our handcart to push.

Three principles have served as my guides:

  • Establish lasting priorities. Some things matter more than others. Make quiet time to think deeply and pray sincerely. Get past "to-do" lists that fill the day and consider those priorities that bring long-term happiness. You may have to reduce the clutter of activities that stand in the way of your priorities.
  • Focus on excellence. The path to excellence is a reasoned, step-by-step progression, not a frenzied rushing from task to task. The Lord created the earth one day at a time, making sure each step was "good." I have found lasting satisfaction and a proper balance as I focus on excellence. Excellence also implies that I increase my abilities. I hope to have more capacity next year than I do today.
  • Trust in heaven's help. Balance is an intensely personal matter that requires heaven's help. The Spirit can, and will, guide your choice of activities. Rely on heaven for guidance.

— Craig V. Nelson, director of college relations, LDS Business College, Salt Lake City, Utah

Families deserve best

Our lives are fast-paced, quick and rushed. We work to support our families, and work is a blessing in our lives. We serve in the Church in multiple ways, but it seems the Lord's work is never done. Our families need our time and love and attention, and they deserve our best. All of this is to happen in the 24 hours we have each day.

As a busy LDS family, we have tried to keep a balance in our lives, but the balance is fragile and must be rechecked regularly. I know no other way to balance my life than with prayer. Prayer can help to prioritize the pressures and responsibilities we have. There have been some weeks I do not know how everything that needs to be done can be done, and it only works out with the help of the Lord.

It also requires organization. Family home evening is an opportunity for each family member to discuss what they have coming up in the next week so the family works together to accomplish the individual's needs.

I also appreciate the counsel given in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It outlines our eternal priorities and has helped us focus on our family, which so often gets our leftovers instead of our "main course." In a world where bigger, faster and more seems to be the priority, our prophet simplifies our lives in a single page of vision. — Art and Nanette Clarke, Las Vegas, Nev.

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