Defining roles and goals for 2014

Defining roles and goals (1)

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I read Amy Lynn Andrews’ time management e-book, Tell Your Time, back in December (my review). I’m a sucker for anything related to organizing (even organizing your life), so I enjoyed reading about how she makes the most of her time; but, the thing I liked most about her book was the process by which she narrows down her daily activities. Amy starts broad by defining roles and slowly refines each role until she has simple action steps.

In thinking through the coming year, I decided Amy’s approach would be a great way to process how I plan to use my time in 2014. Especially with a new addition to the family, I want to be focused and intentional about what I choose to do each day.

annie dillardThis is what I came up with for the coming year:

1. Roles: who am I?

Self: I loved the main principle of Brian Berry’s book As For Me and My Crazy House which boils down to – the best gift you can give your community and ministry is a healthy family; the best thing you can give your family is a healthy marriage; and the best thing you can give your marriage is a healthy self. For that reason, I need to be diligent about self-care, for the sake of my other relationships and roles.

Wife: I want my marriage to thrive. I want to continue to embrace and engage my relationship with Tim on every level.

Mother: The newest and most scary role for me.

Family Member (daughter, sister, grand-daughter, etc): Mine happens to be spread out across the country, so maintaining these relationships (which are really important to me) take time and effort.

Home Manager: Tim is a fantastic co-manager, but because I don’t work outside the home I have more time to devote to this role. I could probably get a bit OCD about managing our home, but my main focus needs to be creating a happy, healthy atmosphere for my family.

Writer/Blogger: Writing is a passion and a way to process – an absolute must in my life. My blog is the main expression of this role.

2. Goals: what kind of {insert role} do I want to be?

Self: Authentic, discerning, grace-filled, intentional, representative of Christ.

Wife: An attentive and encouraging friend who is respectful and supportive of Tim’s whole self.

Mother: Present. Intentional. Encouraging. I want my child(ren) to know and love God. If they became readers, that would be great, too :)

Family Member: Loving, available, and communicative.

Home Manager: I want our home to be a haven for family and friends. I’d like to give up perfection in favor of being present with those I love. Good steward of our resources.

Writer/Blogger: Consistent. Authentic. Stretched. Growing.

3. The plan: what can I do as a {insert role here} that will move me toward being more {insert adjectives from above}?  These are my goals fleshed out – the action steps I will take to achieve my goals in the short and long-term.

UPDATE 1/13/14: I thought of two other goals! Self: explore the Enneagram. Mother: Figure out a good system to document Baby James’ life (Project Life? Blurb books?).


  • Daily time with Jesus – Bible reading and journaling.
  • Regular exercise – not quite sure what this will look like with a newborn, but I’d like to start running again and taking classes at the gym.
  • Sleep – my whole family will suffer unless this is a priority, which means napping when James naps even if there’s dirty dishes or laundry to do.
  • Reading – not quantifying this one because I know having a baby will affect my time to do this, but I’m hoping an eventual feeding rhythm will allow for solid reading time.
  • Service – at church and in our community.


  • Daily one-on-one time – when James is sleeping/occupied so I’m not distracted.
  • Monthly date-night – get out of the house!


  • Prayer is the major specific action step I can think of because Tim and I are new to this parenting business. We’re going to need tons of grace and patience.
  • Breastfeeding – very much wanting this to be successful but knowing it’s a process.
  • Reading out loud – even if he just likes the pictures at this point.

Family Member:

  • Consistent email updates – to keep family posted on what’s new with the Gardner three.

Home Manager:

  • Finish unpacking – um, we’ve lived in our house for 8 months and there are still unpacked boxes (mostly decor and books).
  • Cull excess – unpacking is a great opportunity to sift through unnecessary stuff.
  • Purge and revamp wardrobe – I can’t tell you how excited I am to do this! I’ll save the details for another post.
  • Meal plan – to promote healthy eating and a stress-free dinner time.
  • Pay bills immediately – so they don’t clutter the kitchen counter.
  • Daily house de-clutter – so it doesn’t become a big project once a week.


Of course, the next step would be to put these things into actual time slots. The type-A in me is all over that, but the grace-filled, realistic Emily knows I have no idea what life with a baby is going to look like, so I should just keep these goals in mind as Tim and I dive into this new adventure.

What are some roles and goals you have for 2014?

14 thoughts on “Defining roles and goals for 2014

  1. This is wonderful! I love how intentional you’re being about the whole thing. You will have LOTS of time for reading while nursing a newborn. If there’s anything I can do to help you with breastfeeding, please let me know! I can recommend books, stuff you need, etc. or just be a listening ear if you’re freaking out about something.

    1. That is so good to hear about reading time :) Any helpful hints/advice about breastfeeding would be appreciated. Aside from labor and delivery, breastfeeding is what I’m most nervous about. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital last week and was so glad I did – if only for the reassurance that it’s all a process…

    1. I loved the process of thinking through my roles and what I wanted each of them to look like. I highly recommend doing it!

  2. Random comments that don’t necessarily fit into a cohesive paragraph:

    I too would be more than happy to help any way I could with breastfeeding! I had several mamas’ perspectives and was grateful for each one.

    I love the home manager section…especially the purge and revamp wardrobe (looking forward to that post!).

    Feel ya on the back-end blog-frittering-away. If only I could have those HOURS back… ;)

    And I’ll try and encourage you to the do those self-things…I wish I had done a better job of that when Serafina was itty bitty! It’s actually harder now to try and get back in the swing when I never really got there in the first place.

    Praying for you, mama!

    1. I would love your perspective on breastfeeding, Rachel! Like I said to Sarah, it’s the one thing (beyond labor and delivery) that I’m super nervous about…

      I really can’t wait to go through all my clothes. I know it will be a process, too, as my body changes postpartum, but I still have clothes from high school. Time to simplify and restructure!

      Thanks for the prayers and accountability – I’m going to need both!

  3. These are great goals! They sound challenging enough, but not unattainable, especially since your life will change so much this year! I did a similar thing for the new year, with almost the exact same categories :) Love the revamping wardrobe idea. The new momma wardrobe is different, and something I didn’t really think about until having my first. Cardigans and shirts you can easily pull down for nursing are key!

    1. Thanks Allie! I really did try to make them attainable, realizing that even these will require grace and flexibility.

      Any other wardrobe suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Emily, you’re heart and goals are so refreshing! I just kept reading this and thinking, “what a lovely woman.” I am really so excited for you and Tim, on little James! What an incredible journey!

    God bless sweet lady!

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