“I don’t have enough time.”
“When I have more time, I am going be with my family more.”
“I always procrastinate.”
Our time is our lives. To manage our time well, means that we will manage our lives well. Failure to control our clocks and calendars will mean we are out of control in our personal and professional lives. But our 168 hours a week can be controlled and managed well. The key is to examine our use of time and then spend our time consistent with our true priorities. The unexamined life is not lived well. But how do we do that?
The first step is to take a time inventory. For at least one week list what you do on an hourly basis. If you can break it up into fifteen minute sections this is even better.
If you wonder how effectively you are using your time, check out this site Mind Tools site at mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_88.htm
Real vs. ideal schedules
Now that you know how you are currently using your time, take out a fresh weekly calendar
and fill out your “ideal week.” This should not ignore the commitments you have made to your work or others, but only the “urgent and important” things of which you have no control over scheduling, should be both your “real” and “ideal” schedule.
For example if you are an hourly employee and have to work from 8 to 5 then this would be in both your “real” and “ideal” schedule. However, if you spend time on TV channel surfing this would be in your “real schedule” but may not appear in your “ideal schedule.”
Next, before you make up your “ideal schedule,” make a list of things that are not urgent or do not have to be done but that you find to be important. Outside of the immovable “urgent and important” items like going to work, you should make time for the “not urgent, but important” first.
Clearly you should have some “free” non-committed time that will give you some space to handle the “emergencies” of life that will certainly derail your plans at times. Also, always double whatever amount of time you estimate for a task since things always take longer than we think.
Don’t over schedule yourself because this will make you feel that you failed. Make your plan “ideal” but
realistic. Now that you have a “real” and “ideal” schedule you need to begin working one item at a time to transform your “real” schedule into your “ideal” schedule. Only change one item a week. But have a goal to have your “ideal” become your “real.” Within a few months you should see this transformation take place.
The key to success
The key to success of this process is to know what our “not urgent, but important” activities would be — our priorities. This can take some time. But to be prayerfully thinking about what we should invest our time in will clearly lead to a better use of our time and our lives. Faithfully following this pattern will ensure that you do not waste your life on that which matters little, but instead invest it in what matters most. It is time to begin managing our time.
Dr. Wise is the executive director of Living Water Christian Counseling, senior pastor of First Church West, and host of Ask the Counselor Tuesdays at Noon on GraceNetRadio.com. Living Water Christian Counseling can be reached at 954-452-4407.