MUSTS, NEEDS & WANTS: The Time Management Cure

So I was just lying in bed, wondering why I couldn't fall asleep.  Then, I remembered I took a nap.  Great for the afternoon, bad for bedtime.  Grrr....   But while I was lying there, my mind kept going over and over blog posts. One of which is about TIME.  I just had a discussion with a friend of mine about doing what you have to do with a cheerful heart.  However, when all you're doing are the things you feel you have to do, life can be a bit less joyful.   Don't you think?  Well, several years ago I came up with a mantra I was going to live by in my life, and it basically involves PRIORITIES. 

In our lives there are MUSTS, NEEDS and WANTS.

As mothers, we all have things we MUST do day in and day out.  You have to change your baby's diaper.  Otherwise...yuck!  You have to do laundry.  You have to get groceries at the store and somehow, some way feed your family (frozen dinners or gourmet meals).  You must sleep, even if you really want to stay awake putting those precious quiet hours to good use!  You must wake up, too.  Sorry!  See? There are things you MUST do throughout your days. 

Even with these MUSTS in our lives, we still have the choice in our perspective of these things.  Do them with a cheerful heart, or begrudge them and try with all our might to fight against them!  That usually doesn't work.  We also have a choice in how far we take these musts.  Yes, we need to do the laundry.  But it is our choice if we starch every white shirt or simply hang them in the closet and hope the people at church don't notice a few wrinkles.  :-)  Either way we do it, it is our choice.  We MUST accept that choice and go about our days.

Our NEEDS are one way we cope with all of the MUSTS in our lives.  This is where I ask myself, "What do I NEED to be emotionally and mentally secure?"  What are some of my NEEDS?  I NEED to have some moments of quiet, spiritual study time in the morning.  That's a need.  Not a must or a want.  I NEED talking time with my husband after the kids have gone to bed each night.  I NEED to write.  Cards, blogs, journals, whatever.  I just need to clear my mind through writing somtimes.  I really, really NEED a good book in my hand at some point throughout the day.  That really is a need.  Not a want.  :-) 

I think part of being a "sane" mother is really knowing your needs.  We give so much of our days, our hours, our minutes to fulfill the needs of others.  This is a GOOD thing!  It is part of our nature to give and to nurture.  But that giving must be balanced with some of our own needs being met.  Nothing too frivolous, mind you.  Be truly introspecitve here and know yourself. Some of you may have on your lists that all you need is chocolate.  If that really is a NEED, then by all means, give yourself some!  :-)

We still need to be careful not confusing our WANTS with our NEEDS.  WANTS are just those things that you want to do because it's fun.  NEEDS are something you need on a more regular basis, things you communicate with your husband and your family to be sure they get met sometime in the week.   WANTS are more the not necessarily necessary items on your list.  WANTS are those late night ice cream runs or those days you just want to sit and watch your favorite movie.  WANTS are to be fulfilled when your MUSTS and NEEDS have mostly been met.  WANTS are those little cherries on top of the sundae that you get, hopefully throughout the day.

I know if we prioritize in this way (or similarly), we will get more of what we really want out of our lives.  For me that is more time with my family, more time to serve, and more time to just be.  Prioritizing this way has given me more freedom to say yes to the things I MUST, NEED and WANT to do in my life. 

So, what's funny is that within a few months of coming up with this little mantra of mine, I read a brief bio of Sister Julie B. Beck when she first became General Relief Society president.  This is what was said of her:

To manage her time, she divides priorities into three categories - "must do," "should do," and "nice to do."  Personal prayer, scripture study, temple attendance and family are on her "must do" list.  "I don't know of a woman who doesn't have more to do than she can do," she says, but prioritizing "eliminates guilt.  I'm surprised at how many 'nice to do' things I can get done."

I knew I liked that woman for some reason!  :-)


  1. I love this post. Thanks, Julia!
    And that is a great quote from Julie Beck.

  2. So what would our little rendezvous for a feet be classified as?? At first, I think want, but by the end I don't know that it fell into any of those categories. Thought provoking post! Miss you.


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