As I looked around my home office, I felt totally overwhelmed and utterly dejected. My son, Matthew, had just been diagnosed with autism and our daughter Anna had been hospitalized for a month with whooping cough. My wife was (understandably) struggling with postpartum depression. As a follower of Christ and pastor, I felt like I – somehow – should be able to handle all this.
But no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to keep my head above water. In fact, even after my boss gave me two weeks off to catch up, I didn’t feel any better. Something had to change.
Can you relate? Do you ever feel like your calendar is overcrowded and that you’re just responding to whatever comes up? Instead of ‘making the best use of the time’ (Ephesians 5:16) like you really want to?
In this post, I want to share a simple idea that my wife and I are using to keep our lives (relatively) sane, and, ensure that we’re prioritizing the relationships and things that matter most. To us, and – I hope – God. But whether you’re a family of 1 or 20, you can use this simple idea in your own life.
The Quarterly Calendar Summit
Although I’ve given it a really cool name (if I do say so myself), this is a very basic idea.
Here’s how it works:
- When we’re approaching a new quarter, my wife or I will say, ‘Hey it’s been awhile since we planned out the next few months. Let’s do it again soon’. As the leader of our family, I try to take the initiative here, but sometimes my wife reminds me and that’s fine.
- Ideally, we first spend a little time on our own thinking about what relationships and commitments are important for our family and ourselves personally. I invite God to guide me and show me things I might miss. We structure our thoughts around the important categories in our lives: family, church, friends, ministry, house projects and fun. We also schedule some nights and weekends off, date nights and vacation time. Your categories will probably vary some from ours.
- Then, we come together and do the planning. (Make sure your kids are occupied, asleep or medicated (just kidding) first). Most things are no-brainers, but others require some discussion. I’m always amazed at the way one of us sees something the other doesn’t, and, the creative solutions that come up as we go back-and-forth.
- Overall, it takes us about an hour and a half. (Including the time we spend on our own first). That can feel like a lot, but when you realize you’re planning for 13 weeks, that’s just 7 minutes per week, or, 1 minute per day.
That’s it. Does that sound doable?
As someone who isn’t a natural planner, I promise you that you can do this. And, that it’s sooo worth it.
You and your spouse will have the confidence that you’re investing in the relationships and things that matter most instead of drifting or letting others plan your life for you. You’ll experience a growing unity as you make these decisions together. As a bonus, over time your kids will pick up on your example and learn to think along the same lines.
So there you go, the Quarterly Calendar Summit, or, whatever you decide to call it. Without getting overwhelmed you and your spouse can move toward the relationships and commitments that matter most.
Question: What relationships and commitments in your life would become possible by beginning (or, implementing more faithfully) a habit like the quarterly calendar summit?