Clutter-Free Day 5: Editing your responsibilities according to priorities


Welcome to Day 5 in our Clutter-Free Challenge.

I’m so proud of all of you for signing up and making it through the first week.

Today, we are going to start looking at removing some of the clutter in our schedules.  So let’s get started.

There’s nothing like a new year to bring hope and optimism into our hearts.  This year, we promise ourselves, is the year we get our act together.  This year we will get and stay organized, start exercising and lose weight!  This year we will read the Bible completely through, make more time for family get-togethers, pray nightly with our children and have a date-night with our husbands.  Certainly we are intelligent, competent women … we can do this … right?

But then January 15th rolls around, or February 15th, or if you are truly motivated you’ll make it to March, and then life overwhelms yet again. Sigh … it gets so tiresome to feel defeated.

I thought the problem was always me.  I wasn’t self-disciplined enough, or I didn’t work smart enough.  I’d tell myself I lacked perseverance, and didn’t have what it takes to stick with something.  Basically, I’d beat myself up mentally and just give up feeling like a failure once again.

But then I learned this simple principle that changed the way I think:  For every “yes” there has to be a “no.”  Let me explain.

I can’t add something new to my schedule (like reading the Bible through in a year) without saying no to something else (like the morning news).    You see, if I’m already feeling maxed out, how can I possibly add something to an overcrowded schedule?  I only have so much time and energy.  I can’t pretend that I can do everything, and just keep piling more on.  That simply sets me up to fail. Some things have to go to make room for the new.

I imagine you’ve done the same thing.  Most of us underestimate the amount of time things take.  And we overestimate our uninterrupted time to accomplish them.  I’m the queen of this.  Here’s just one small example.  I can never just run in and out of a store quickly, unlike my husband.  If my husband says he’s going to the store for milk – he’s home in 15 minutes.   That same trip will take me at least 30 minutes, and honestly, usually an hour.  I have no explanation for this.  My husband just rolls his eyes when I say I’m making a “quick” trip to the store. Everything just takes me longer.

That’s my reality.  So, armed with the truths that for every yes we have to say no, and everything takes longer than we think, we are going to take a look at that master list of responsibilities you started a few days ago.  I still don’t want you to worry about organizing it.  Instead, can you identify which of those items are God’s priorities for you right now?

If that’s a hard question to answer, I understand.  Sometimes we get so busy with “good” things, that we get confused with what God might really be asking us to do.   You see, we can have schedules full of good things, but still be missing out on the best things.  And by “best things” I mean God’s best for you at this time in your life.

When I get confused on my priorities, I ask myself some questions.  Maybe these will help you too:

  • What can only I do?   (only I can take care of my health, be my children’s mother and my husband’s wife – among other things)
  • What responsibilities has God already given me?  (stewarding my faith, home,  finances, talents, etc.)
  • How well am I doing in those areas?  (ouch … this one usually hurts)
  • What has God asked me to do that I haven’t done yet?  (ouch again …)
  • What passion has God put in my heart?   (for me that’s writing and ministering to women)

Once you are clear on your priorities … God’s priorities for you … then start to edit that list.  I’m pretty sure there’s lots on that list you shouldn’t be doing.  What can you remove?  Is there anything …

  • You don’t want to do any more,
  • You don’t need to do anymore but it’s habit,
  • God has clearly called you away from it but you haven’t made the break.

I’m not saying you should start indiscriminately slashing responsibilities from that list.  Do NOT call your boss and say “Glynnis told me to quit!”   Or email your women’s ministry director to resign from overseeing this year’s retreat.  No, please don’t do that.

Instead, prayerfully consider if  there might be responsibilities you need to resign from after fulfilling your commitment. Are there expectations you’ve put on yourself you can release?  Are there tasks you can delegate to someone else?

Today is an editing day.  Before we can find any freedom in our schedules, we have to de-clutter them.  This is definitely a process – it can’t happen overnight. We have to trim our responsibilities down to a manageable level wisely.  Then make sure we are only doing what God wants us to do.

I know this is a big task, which is why I’ve planned it for Friday.  Take the weekend to pray about this, and really seek God’s will.  Remember the lesson from Day 2?  Ask God for wisdom and then trust that He will answer.  Don’t doubt. On Monday we are going to deal with the rest of that master list.  I’m going to share a new way to organize your to-do list that will increase your efficiency ten-fold.

Grace & Peace,


Heavenly Father, I pray for my friends today who are looking at an overwhelming list of tasks and responsibilities.  Please show them Your will for them at this time in their lives. Give them Your discernment about what to edit from that list and when to do so.   And I ask that You protect them from guilt over saying no, and fill them with Your confidence.  Flood my friends hearts with Your supernatural peace throughout this process.  In Jesus name, Amen


If you want more encouragement and tips on how to bring order to your mind, schedule and home, I hope you’ll consider purchasing my book, “I Used to Be So Organized.”  It’s available through Proverbs 31 Ministries, Amazon, or wherever books are sold.  Thank you.




  1. shelly l says

    As I read today’s email, what kept coming up in my head is that I should withdraw from the class I’m taking. I’ve had this thought before. When I really search inside and listen to God, I think I’m pursuing this degree so that the “world” thinks I’m smart enough. I’m not sure if I’m right in that, or afraid to succeed by finishing the program. This is what I will pray about this weekend.

  2. Nancy says

    Have just begun taking care of our first great grandson this week while mommy and daddy are at work. My husband has concerns about me doing this plus EVERYTHING else I’m involved in at church. Thought I would work on this organization stuff to help me
    add childcare to EVERYTHING else. I have my list…..I will be praying much this weekend. Thank you so much!

  3. AJ in Canada says

    Weeding through my obligations list is a common thing for me… good reminder to sit and pray over it all again! Thanks!

  4. says

    How often I have said yes to things because my friends said I should do them – no talking to God or my husband about doing them or not. Then when you feel very overloaded you don’t want to disappoint them, oh the guilt starts. Sometimes I just wanted to run away. I seem to need to be reminded over and over that I need to ask God first. Sometimes good takes over best. Thank you for reminding me that the guilt needs to be prayed about because it will come when I say I can’t do a certain task anymore. For me I need to ask for strength to be firm in what the Lord has shown me. The question you posted “What can only I do?” really helps when looking at my list. Thank You.

  5. Bethany Platt says

    “I thought the problem was always me. I wasn’t self-disciplined enough, or I didn’t work smart enough. I’d tell myself I lacked perseverance, and didn’t have what it takes to stick with something. Basically, I’d beat myself up mentally and just give up feeling like a failure once again.”

    — Those words were the EXACT same thing I was telling myself yesterday and this morning. THANK YOU for releasing me from the feelings of guilt. THANK YOU for giving me a way to replace the “stinking thinking.” I bought your book on the last Clutter Challenge you did, but I didn’t think my schedule needed changed. Until I read today’s post. I have the mindset of perfectionism and very high standards of myself. My life is full of “I wants” and not so much of what “God wants.” This weekend, I’ll start praying over God’s will for my life right now and start doing what HE wants me to and not do something just because I want to or someone else expects me to. Thank you thank you thank you, Glynnis for being this wonderful instrument of God.

  6. Jean says

    I ordered your book and received it yesterday. I could NOT put it down! I felt like you were writing about my life completely. Thank you so much for this challenge and the wisdom to lead us to clear the clutter from our lives so we can do God’s will. I love today’s quote that for every yes there has to be a no. Thank you for your ministry.

  7. says

    I am a single mother of two BEAUTIFUL girls. I also work part-time (32 hrs. a wk), go to school full time, trying to get into a Nursing Program, go to Church on Sundays, a caregiver 2 times a week for a 92 year old woman, and lastly I just started training for a 5 K with my little sister every Thurs nights. I have a lot to do. I am hoping that this de-clutter challenge will help me set things in order. I love the positive feed back from you Glynnis! Thank you for your ministry.

  8. says

    I really appreciate these questions and I’m going to spend some time asking them this weekend. Thank you! Years ago when I was up to my elbows in dishes and laundry, and up to by eyeballs with to dos, I was talking to a wise Christian counselor. And she used a great object lesson. Pretend you’re carrying around a 50 pound back pack. It’s already too heavy to carry. But you’re about to add five more pounds. Before you add, think instead about what you can take out of that pack. Though I don’t always do it, the thought has stayed with me. How will I lighten my load?

  9. says

    Such good advice for me today; thank you. I have been discussing with myself in the pages of my journal, asking what, where and how God wants me to use my time. I am also a writer, teacher and speaker….maybe these are my yes’s.

    The trouble is, I left my job this past fall to pursue my writing and speaking…and my schedule is up for discussion.

    Thanks for your promptings,

  10. tina says

    Thank you, Glynnis, for your wisdom … and for your kind, thoughtful prayer at the end of today’s blog. I need that. <3

  11. tina says

    Glynnis, may I ask a question?
    Is it okay to say “No” to your husband, as in, when he asks you to do a daily time-consuming task for an unknown length of time, and you feel you are not being all you can be in the other areas of your life — ie., keeping house, feeling emotionally on top of things, focusing on kids’ needs with proper amount of attention, having enough time for personal ministry (my Call), and even feeling too drained to give *him* the attention he needs as my husband? I’ve been struggling over this for several weeks…

  12. Carla says

    Thanks…this is where I’m at…and have been for a while. Is your book on audio?

    Definitely feeling overwhelmed and out of priority…thanks again…

  13. Johanna Tooke says

    This message has been peremeating my quiet time, my thoughts and now my email! I think now would be a good time to make some more adjustments in this life of mine. At any rate, I was reading in Experiencing God this morning and here is the quote that I have been meditating on, “God is more interested in what I become than in what I do.” Part of my priortizing is asking God, “What am I becoming as I am doing all of ‘this’?” Thank you Glynnis for your encouragement.

  14. says

    I had to laugh out loud when you wrote not to quit my job because you said so…Too bad. But seriously, what do I do when things keeps getting piled on my work-list and nothing is taken away. Currently I am very overwhelmed at work and not enough hours in the day to get things done the right way. Thanking God for Christian music to keep my focus!

  15. Norma says

    Single working mom of teen and trying to run a household is over whelming! Seems all i can cut out r things i enjoy and have a passion for :(

    • tina says

      Dear Norma,
      I just wanted to say I am proud of you for being the best mom you can be!!! I am praying for you today, that you will *find* time to pursue your passions & take time to enjoy Life. Remember, to do the things you love, you don’t have to do them BIG — just do them a little at a time. Take time to nourish your soul, your dreams, your passions. You are worth it! <3

  16. LeQuita Jones says

    I felt I was a very organized person till I became full time parent without no breaks. I started to do ten hundred things at once just to get it done before my daughter got home or try to create more time to have fun. Just to be in a worst place then before. Now I’m tired all the time and sick. After reading today’s help and yesterday I can see why I’m so overloaded. Thanks for a eye opener.

    • tina says

      Dear LeQuita, pace yourself, dear! 😀 It is okay to NOT to everything there is to do in one day! What I like to do is work on a certain project each day: deep clean the kitchen, organize a closet, straighten my desk — and plan on having it finished (or deciding to be done for the day) when my kids get home from school. Whatever you do each day — be it a small project or a BIG one — is ENOUGH. <3 Blessings!

  17. Pastor Daniel Blaylock says

    I hope you don’t mind a busy bi-vocational pastor with two boys who’s neck-deep in an international adoption process eavesdropping for a few days. I so need the help and guidance you’ve made available through this series on your blog. Thanks so much!

  18. Leigh Anne says

    For every “Yes” there HAS to be a “No”. I absolutely LOVE this! Thank you!
    I see this sticking with me not just in my schedule, but also when new items/hand-me-downs enter my house! (For every “in” there has to be an “out”!)

  19. says

    Thank you, Glynnis, for the reminder that things have to be subtracted as well as added to our lives/schedules. It’s been hard for me to remember it’s OK (and sometimes necessary) to say “no” to even “good” things–like serving on a committee for church–sometimes.

    I especially like the bullet points at the end of your article–they will help me to determine my priorities and what things I can remove from my schedule/life.

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