Carolyn: Recently, we wrote about three biblical truths related to time management and organization: the source of our justification, the source of our ability, and the source of our motivation. Starting this week, we want to consider seven practices to become more diligent and efficient in managing our time and organizing our surroundings.

Now, it was no accident that we discussed the biblical truths before the practices. That’s because biblical truths must govern all of our time management and organizational practices. For example: I do not earn God’s approval by getting up at 5:00 AM every morning to pursue the spiritual disciplines (a practice); I’m accepted by God only because of Christ’s finished work on my behalf (a biblical truth). I can only organize my closet (a practice) in a manner that honors God by looking to Him for guidance and strength (a biblical truth).

See, practices alone, though a means of grace, do not transform us. My life is not ultimately changed by becoming more disciplined or getting more organized. Rather, I am changed as I grasp the truth of justification, depend on the Lord throughout the day, and do whatever I do for His glory. Hence, anytime we seek to implement a new practice, we must always revisit these biblical truths; otherwise, our practices will become new forms of legalism.

So with this in mind, I came up with a list of 7 Practices of the Effective Woman. We will consider these 7 habits over the next few months. This list has evolved out of my years of personal study on this topic. It certainly is not an exhaustive list; however, I hope it will be helpful. 

7 Practices of the Effective Woman:

1.    She rises early
2.    She maintains the spiritual disciplines
3.    She focuses on relational priorities for every season
4.    She sets up regular times for planning
5.    She develops an effective to-do list system and calendar/planner system
6.    She establishes an efficient routine for managing her home
7.    She organizes her house systematically

Now please do not try to apply all of these at once! That wouldn’t be wise. And remember that only God manages His time flawlessly. Only God is perfectly organized. Only God completes His to-do list. And we are not God. We are finite creatures and we might as well get comfortable with our finiteness.

Let me suggest you isolate one to three habits for application. David Powlison encourages us similarly: “Just as we don’t change all at once, so we don’t swallow all of truth in one gulp. We are simple people. You can’t remember ten things at once. Invariably, if you could remember just ONE true thing…you’d be different.”

So, in humility, let’s take a single sip of truth. And that one sip, if truly digested, will affect many other areas as well.

The 5:00 Club 

Nicole: The 5:00 club is a Mahaney-family club. Mom is the founder, chairman of the board, and the secretary. Without her, there is no club. This club has very few members (only six); no chapters to speak of. It is extremely unpopular from about 5-6 each morning and very popular every hour after that.

Actually, the 5:00 club is all about The First Practice of the Effective Woman: She Rises Early. In fact, Mom would say that this practice BY FAR has been the most helpful in seeking to fulfill the other six practices on the list. I wholeheartedly agree.