Have you ever taken a moment and looked to see what you did with your time over a one week period? How about over a 24 hour timeframe?
You may be surprised at just how much of that time was wasted. Those hours could likely be better utilized. Time management is a tool that can both help to identify how you use your time and assist with focusing them to more productive activity.
What is time management?
Time management is considered to be a productive or effective use of time. The level of effectiveness and productivity is quantifiable by the lifestyle of the person and their needs.
A young mother, for example, may make a better use of her time in areas that support her children and spouse versus a single woman with different responsibilities. Regardless of a person’s obligations, a good time manager aims to reduce idle time and non-fruitful behaviors.
How do you start time management?
The first step is doing a quick analysis such as using a time budget worksheet. To get true results it’s best to continue life as usual when doing the analysis. The results should demonstrate how you generally use your time unless it’s an out of the ordinary week. You can also accomplish this same task by documenting your time usage in a spreadsheet, smart device, etc.
Step two includes confession and repentance. Why? In order to change a habit, honesty to self is a must. We don’t change what we see as working just fine. When I first began time management, I had to admit I was a huge time waster.
I also had to repent, because I wasn’t being the best steward of the time God had given me. This was a freeing moment, because denial can keep us imprisoned in damaging routines.
The final step is using time management in your daily life to become more effective with your time and a better steward unto God. There are many methods to achieve your goal, but the following are 5 simple tools for the person beginning to manage their time or starting over.
- Get a Planner.
- Document Everything.
- Don’t Over/Double Book.
- Plan to Sleep.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!Benjamin Franklin
5 Time Management Tools for the Beginner Explained
1. GET A PLANNER
There are so many options from using Google Calendar or some other digital calendar to using the paper and pen method. I do a combination of both.
I like the electronic for reminders, but my planner has all the detail. The planner I selected has inspiration, places for all my notes, monthly goals, and to-dos. I’ve even found planners in the local Dollar Tree.
Don’t overcomplicate your selection and feel free to try different methods until you figure out what works for you.
2. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING
I mean EVERYTHING!!! If you are a person that gets up to pray and meditate early, put that on your calendar. Have a date with your spouse, write it down?
Why? You need to see what you’re doing with your time and make yourself accountable for those things you have committed to. In our spiritual lives, this is of essence.
Many of us say we can’t figure out where to get reading our Bibles and prayer time in or we’re inconsistent. Make it the FIRST part of your day. You definitely want to start with Him…
3. DON’T OVER/DOUBLE BOOK
This was a game changer for my life. If I’ve committed to one thing, I make every attempt NOT to schedule something else.
Let me explain…if I have an event or gathering to attend, I try not to accept another. First of all, having fun is awesome, but it takes a lot of energy. When you’re rushed it brings on a form of stress which isn’t productive.
The goal is quality over quantity.
If your day isn’t going as planned, no worries. Look and see what you can move to another day. Everything on your daily list shouldn’t be a MUST.
Hint: If you keep moving a thing, you might need to take it or something else off your plate.
5. PLAN TO SLEEP
I’ve heard many studies on the amount of sleep adults require. Some say they must have 8 while others say 7.
The key is looking ahead and being sure to start your nighttime routine early enough to be resting at your planned bedtime. A number of devices have a sleep time that can be set as a nightly reminder.
Time Management Done Your Way
The benefits of time management are numerous and include to reduce overwhelm, better health, clearer mind, greater energy due to getting adequate rest, and individualized improvement. The key to success is figuring out what works for you and being consistent. It may feel methodical when you start, but overtime it will become habit forming. Even if you choose not to be as meticulous about accounting for each minute, being aware will make a difference.