We hear these words often: “There aren’t enough hours in the day”, “I wish I could clone myself to get everything done” , “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body.” OK, maybe not that last one, but the two previous for sure.
Time Management: it is the achilles heel for many. Bottom line: If we don’t plan our time, it ends up planning us.
Here is a few principles that have helped me wrestle this to the ground:
1. Determine what you value most. This might sound trite, but much of our frustration with there not being enough time is that we feel we can’t do what we value most. Make a list of your top 5 priorities. This list needs to made up of your own values, not someone elses. For me this is: 1. My time alone with God and His Word 2. Connecting with my wife 3. Connecting with my kids 4. Investing in My Church family 5. Writing.
2. Reality Check: How are you really spending your time? Over the next 7 days keep a detailed account of how you are spending your time. Don’t record how you planned to spend your time. Write down how you actually spend your time. You can use a hand held device to accomplish that or go retro with a small pad and pencil. Be as detailed as you can. Avoid generalizations like, “3-4pm worked on stuff” you need to be able to look at your recorded days and categorize your time spent.
3. Compare reality with your priorities. Lay your list of priorities and your list of priorities side by side and see if they line up. If not, make the needed adjustments. We make time for what’s important to us.
4. Plan your week a week out. First put in non-negotiables (devotional time, work hours, picking up kids, going to class, worship services). Once all of these have been put in to your schedule you are left with your discretionary time (free time). Now begin to put those priorities into your discretionary time. These need to be like gold. Keep these appointments with yourself. Many times we view “optional” items as appointments we can throw away. DON’T DO IT! Barring a 911 situation or the President himself calling and asking you to help him save the nation again, DON’T DO IT!
You might need to make adjustments as you go, but try to make your priorities the priority in how you spend your time. You just might start to feel that 25th hour in the day.