This is part 2 in a 3 part series: Time: How do I make the most of it? Part 1: 3 reasons you should have a “budget” for your timePart 2: Tips on creating more time or “margin” in your schedule Part 3: How to Budget Your Time and Pitfalls of being to Serious About Your “Budget”
Last week I shared 3 reasons you should have a "budget" for your time. We all know the positives of having a budget for our money and people say time=money so why wouldn't we have a budget for our time? If you want to read that post you can click here.
Today I want to share with you 3 tips for better time management. We both know that I would be lying if I said I knew how to create more time. I think we both also know that there have been some seasons in our life that seemed like we had more time to get everything done than we do now. It may be because of a new job, bigger family, or any sort of other circumstances but, I know if you are like me you probably wonder: Where did all my time go? One of the biggest things I have learned is that our finite amount of time on earth is always a constant reminder that we are humans. I believe a lot of times we read articles like the one you are reading right now because we want to in a small way become more like God. We think if I can just figure out one more trick then I will be able to do it all! Therefore, before we start on the three tips just remember there will never be enough time in the day to get everything done and that should make you worship God because He is infinite and we are finite. With that being said, here are the tips:
1. Decide Each Day What are the Most Important Tasks
By deciding each day what has to get done you can focus on the most important tasks first. This is a huge step towards managing your time better. Whether you do this at night before you go to bed or in the morning when you get up try to have a 5 minute meeting with yourself each day and decide on the 1-5 most important tasks for that day. This doesn't have to be just work tasks or even house tasks. On most Fridays my most important task is taking my wife on a date! Because of this on the Fridays that I decide what has to get done or what is most important, I spend my spare time that day planning our date or thinking of special ways to make her feel loved! On the weekend my most important tasks are resting and planning. I have noticed that if I put a priority on those two things each weekend I normally have more time throughout the week.
2. Cut out excess mindless time
I know that sounds some what harsh but it is true. If you need more time each day it probably means you are wasting some good time doing mindless activities. This is a key to failure when working on managing your time better. I wish I could say that I cut all of this out of my schedule but it is really hard. A couple of ways I have found that help me cut this time out is to set a timer on my work. An example would be: I'll work 45 minutes on this task then take a 10-15 minute break. During that 10-15 minutes I can browse social media or check in on sportscenter. I don't have any scientific research but on the experiment that is my life I have greatly benefitted from using a timer on my work. Another way to cut out this time is to schedule in your tv or social media time. Not that all of TV and Social Media is mindless but it often leads to a lot of time wasted. If you schedule in how much time you are going to relax and watch TV it allows you to enjoy it more and know that you are free to relax because it is part of your schedule. Another way is to just take a look at the time you spend watching TV or browsing the internet and asking if it really is that satisfying. If you are like me it normally is unsatisfying and when you turn off the TV or get off your computer your left there wondering where did my time go?
3. Go to Bed on Time and Wake Up on Time
This is probably more of an issue for the younger folks who read this blog. I know for me waking up on time for an important meeting or work responsibility isn't to hard but, if I just need to wake up early to work on things in my life, I usually sleep right through my alarm. One way to make waking up easier is to go to bed at a set time each night. I know this is easier said than done (because I can rarely do this) but even if you just have a target bedtime it helps. I know there are a lot of things in life that keep us up late: kids, work, house chores, friends, community events, etc.. but, I believe if we could cut out the things late at night that keep us up like TV, Social Media, Movies, and, texting or talking on the phone, we could really free up some time in our day. If we could get to bed 20-30 minutes early just 3 times this week we have saved at least an hour of sleep! I know this sounds like your mother talking to you but, It is TRUE!!
In the next couple of weeks try a few of these tricks out and see if you don't have more time to get things done! What are some tips you have found helpful to better manage the time in your schedule?