Monday, February 6, 2012

Measuring Time

Time is a rare and valuable commodity in most of our lives. There's never enough of it. I am constantly learning how to better manage my time, how to serve better with it, how to be a better steward of it, and how to make every minute I have count for as much as it can (on both an esoteric level and a very practical level).

Here are a few things I do to make the most of my time:

Get up early. I've done this pretty consistently since college. I'm not a "morning person" and it isn't always fun. I like my pillow just fine when it's dark and cold and early. But I learned that 15 or 30 extra minutes early in the morning pay enormous dividends. 

I've been able to accomplish things early in the morning that would never find their way into later hours in the day. During college, I could do significant studying early in the morning. Now, I use that time to work out, read, and clean. Getting up early means I can take a lunch to work, so it even saves me money.

Just do. At the risk of being cliche, the goals you want to accomplish are not going to happen by themselves while you click through recently posted albums on Facebook. If you have set a goal to read a book or practice an instrument, just do it. Time drains like social media and cell-phones should be ignored until goals happen.

Make small amounts of time count. This is related to the first two points For the last few months, I've made a goal of spending 15 minutes every morning and evening reading. The morning reading normally consists of some kind of Christian living or devotional book, while I use the evening reading time for whatever else I am reading.

15 minutes isn't a huge amount of time, but with it, I can fit in anywhere between 15 and 40 pages of reading a day, allowing me to consistently move through quite a few books at a reasonable pace. This concept of using a small, dedicated period of time could be applied to a number of different activities.

Multi-task. Multi-tasking is not always a great answer, but turning on a podcast while running, listening to a book on tape during your commute, and cleaning the microwave while you wait for your dinner to cook can be productive ways to utilize otherwise wasted pockets of time.

Prioritize. Make a list of the five most important things in your life. Then make another list of five things that are less important but for which you still want to make time. Place the "top ten" list somewhere visible. There is not an endless supply of time. Making time for these ten things means that, at some point, time is not going to be available for something or someone else. Accepting this reality will save endless frustration.

How do you make time for your priorities? What are time management secrets or tricks that you have found valuable?


Monica Jacobson said...

I like your prioritize idea. Definitely going to try it. And as for making the small amounts of time count.. heh heh.... maybe I'd be better at that without facebook. I'm seriously contemplating alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Here's my tip: while your kid is taking a bath, clean the rest of the bathroom. (This is the only way I get the bathroom cleaned without a toddler following me and trying to splash in the toilet.)
-Gwen L.