How To Manage Your Time
Where did the time go? Do you find yourself asking this question often? If so, there’s a good chance that time has slipped by yet again and you didn’t complete all that you desired to do. This is where tools for time management come in.
Time management is important because of the brevity of our lives. Our time on this earth is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. And no matter how hard we pray, we will never get any more hours in the day or days on the weeks.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul cautioned the saints, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Living wisely involves using our time carefully. Knowing that the harvest is great and the workers are few, and that time is rapidly dwindling should help us make better use of our time to accomplish all that God has called us to do.
If you find yourself wondering where did the time go or procrastinating on important tasks, follow these steps to make better use of your time.
Map Your Time
Identify areas of your life where you are wasting time and try to reduce these. A good way to do this is to log everything you do for a week in meticulous detail and then examine your record to see how you use (or misuse!) your time.
For example, checked email, 30 minutes, eat lunch 1 hour, scrolled through Facebook, 45 minutes. Be honest! The purpose of this exercise is to determine what you are actually doing with your time. This will also allow you to see how much time it actually takes you to complete tasks. After you’ve done this for a week, this should make planning the next week easier.
Make A Plan
Take Sunday night to write out everything you need to do for the upcoming week. Your list may look like: Go to the gym, meal prep, attend ministry meeting, private devotion time, check email, etc.
Next to each item on the list, write how long it should take to complete each task. Example Go to the gym, 2 hours, private devotion, 1 hour. This step is crucial because it allows you to see how much time you actually need. If you have only allotted 30 minutes a day to check and reply to emails, you will be less likely to be distracted when the time comes. If you find yourself going over the allotted time, make an adjustment and give yourself more time.
Then, using a planner or calendar, plug those tasks into the days and times that you plan to accomplish them. We live in the age of technology but use whatever tool works for you!
Keep your daily to-do lists short. Focus on the most important tasks of the day. You are more likely to procrastinate if you have 13 to-dos for the day as opposed to 5 or 6. Don’t be afraid to delegate or move items off your list or forward to the next day.
Advantages of using a to-do list
- Focuses your mind on important objectives
- You are less likely to forget to do tasks
- Writing a list helps to order your thoughts
- It helps show the bigger picture
- You don’t need to hold everything in your head.
- It saves time
- It helps you decide on priorities: the most important and the most urgent
- You are less likely to become sidetracked
- You get the reward of ticking off your achievements
- You feel more in control
- You have a record of what you’ve done
- You always have something to work on
Procrastination is the curse of action planning. It’s important that you manage ‘Your fear of doing things’ you don’t want to do and realize that the fear is often far worse than any possible negative results. Try to make decisions immediately when possible and when you don’t need to gather more information pertinent to the decision, move forward. The best time to do something is usually NOW. Acting now generates the motivation for further action.
We need to place our focus on that which is eternal as opposed to the fleeting pleasures of this passing world. Accordingly, we should move forward with diligence and divine purpose as the courses of our lives progress toward God’s ultimate goal. We are to accomplish as much as we can with the time He has given us.