The Lost Art title
of Making Time for What Really Matters subtitle
by Ana Willis
Hi, I’m Ana!
I’m a recovering addict to busyness—a mom who cried herself to sleep in exhaustion for over two years and ended up in critical care due to severe stress. I burned out and here is why.

I lived life at a super busy speed for far too long. I believed the lie that I could multitask twenty-four seven, and I was depleted by my lack of boundaries. Twenty-four hours a day weren’t enough for all I had on my plate.

I was exhausted, empty, crying myself to sleep, and feeling like I failed as a mom.

Busyness and stress caused me to step down from full-time ministry, brought us to a very difficult financial situation, and—almost eight years later—I am still suffering from the health consequences of that burnout.

In my busyness, I neglected myself, my daily connection with my children, and my husband. The good news is that those days are over, and I no longer fall back into the super busy mom trap.

Corrie Ten Boom rightly said:

“If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
The enemy of our souls wants moms busy, exhausted, disconnected from their families, and disconnected from God.

It takes intentionality to turn this around. If you are feeling exhausted and depleted, this article was written, under a lot of prayers, for you!

Know Your Limitations
I once lived with the illusion that I could do a million things at the same time, and I mistakenly associated being busy with being efficient. That was a lie I believed for far too long! The truth is we all have limitations and spreading ourselves thin will eventually break us.

Today, I’m conscious of my limitations in many areas: how many hours of work I can handle weekly, how many hours of homeschooling I can handle daily, how many big projects I can commit to monthly, and even how many hours of adequate sleep I need daily to function well.

Knowing and respecting your limitations will keep you from overscheduling yourself and experiencing overwhelm and burnout.

Be Fully Present
One of my greatest regrets is when I remember how many times my kids or husband asked for my attention while my eyes were on my computer or phone. Oh, how I would hate it if this was the other way around! I would feel unimportant… and yet, I was constantly doing it to them.

The conviction came to me one day while reading a short poem to my children, ironically to teach them the habit of attention—to fully focus on what is in front of you!

Work while you work,
Play while you play,
This is the way
To be happy each day.

All that you do,
Do with your might,
Things done by half
Are never done right.

Author: Unknown
photograph of a couple
I suddenly realized that everything I was doing was by “halves” and I wasn’t being efficient in any way. From that day on, I decided to be fully focused on what was in front of me and this has changed my life.

Our kids deserve and need our full attention. They want to be looked in the eye and feel that they matter, that you care, and that you are fully present with them. And so does your husband!

Tips to Redeem Your Time
By deleting social media apps from my phone, I gained so much time! And by keeping my phone tucked away, I broke free from the urge to always look at it, especially around my children during homeschool time.
The Yes & No List
It’s time to learn to say no and goodbye to things that are overwhelming you.

What is exhausting you? What is stealing your time from more important things?

Perhaps too many commitments at church?

A homeschool curriculum that requires an immense amount of daily hours and has become your master?

Too much time scrolling social media or binging on Netflix? I’ve been there too! The key here is to be honest with yourself.

Lysa TerKeurst, in her book The Best Yes, wrote that not every opportunity is our assignment. It’s ok to say no to what is weighing us down.

Grab a cup of tea and let’s create a list with two columns titled YES and NO.

In the YES column, list all the things that are aligned with your priorities and that matter to you and your family. Then, in the NO column, list all the things that you need to stop doing in order to create more time for the things you listed in the YES column. This is a simple but powerful exercise to help you stay aligned with your priorities.

The Ideal Week Schedule
Now it’s time to create your ideal week schedule—a spreadsheet where you can list and keep track of your weekly routine.

Budget your time! Yes, this is how we tell our time where to go. Your ideal week schedule should give you a wide visual of how you are using your time.

Whatever your priorities are, make sure you schedule time for them and leave plenty of margin for breathing.

The time on the left reminds us where our priority should be so we can avoid distractions and be fully focused on that task.

The goal of using your ideal week schedule is to help you be intentional with your time. I have a link for you to access a template at the end of this article along with an example of an ideal week schedule.

“I suddenly realized that everything I was doing was by ‘halves’ and I wasn’t being efficient in any way. From that day on, I decided to be fully focused on what was in front of me and this has changed my life.”
mother reading a book to two of her kids in bed
Finally, I want to leave you with 4 priorities to make time for:
1. Make Time to Connect with God
Let’s begin with setting aside time to read God’s Word and pray. The Daily Audio Bible app has been my daily companion for many years, and it guides me through the whole Bible in a year.

Dedicate your day to the Lord and ask Him what He wants you to do before you present Him your agenda. Talk to Him throughout the day! Intimacy and a strong prayer life drive fear and worries away—and we gain clarity, vision, and boldness to pursue what God has for us.

2. Make Time to Connect with Family
Schedule time to spend one-on-one with children and pick a weekly night for family fun and games! This is such a great opportunity for lots of laughter and deep connections.

Likewise, set aside time for date nights with your husband. Good marriages are the best witnesses to our children. We must be intentional to nourish our marriages by giving our spouses love and attention.

Date nights don’t have to be fancy or expensive. Evening walks or bicycle rides with my husband are a simple and great way to connect. Sometimes, we just drop the kids off at Grandma’s for some time alone and romance. You can nourish your marriage and stay on budget.

Don’t forget to connect with parents and siblings too. A daily or weekly timer set on your phone will remind you to call and show them some love and care.

3. Make Time to Care for Yourself
Moms are often depleted and exhausted because they take care of everyone else and forget to take care of themselves.

There are many ways to take good care of yourself that won’t cost anything and don’t take much time. Take a few “Selah Moments” throughout the day to rest your mind, drink a cup of tea, and read a devotional. Selah is a Hebrew word that means “a pause to think about something.”

How about short nature walks? Ten-minute walks can do us so much good! It’s relaxing and helps exercise the body; it’s good for the heart and the mind. Give yourself a break. Self-care is not selfish.

And let’s not forget the importance of sleeping well and eating healthy. A healthy mama is far more able to take good care of her family than a depleted one.

4. Make Time to Celebrate Life’s Blessings
Finally, I want to encourage you to make time to celebrate your blessings. A minute or two a day to focus on the good things will go a long way. You don’t need to keep a gratitude journal as long as you keep a grateful heart. So, even when things get tough, you will still find blessings to be thankful for!

Lastly, I learned that our agenda reflects our priorities. What really matters to us should be a priority in our agenda.

Let’s rescue the art of making time for what really matters! I created a special free masterclass for you and added four templates you can use daily to manage your time intentionally.
Ana Willis

na Willis is a wife and homeschool mom of three turned homeschool blogger and speaker. She is also a women’s pastor and a passionate Bible and Hebrew teacher. She loves helping moms to find joy and fulfillment in their homeschool calling. Her goal is to help them go from stressed to blessed, nurturing restful homeschooling through a living education, and living a beyond blessed life. For the past 5 years, Ana has been mentoring thousands of homeschool moms through her blog They Call Me Blessed as well as the Charlotte Mason Inspired Online Conference and more.