I am a mixed bag on time management. Some things I do really well, which creates plenty of time to do a variety of things. But then I’ll waste some of it because I’m not prioritizing well. And by “waste” I don’t mean that it is bad to just do nothing sometimes and rest. I mean that I end up doing things that aren’t that important, like TV or Internet surfing.
How is your time management? Remember that if you aren’t doing what you say you want to do (Bible study, prayer, family time, reading, exercise, volunteering, etc.) it is because you consider that the least important thing you actually do is more important than the things you say you want to do. You may not have those conscious thoughts, but it is an accurate assessment.
In other words, if you are not reading your Bible and praying daily it is because you have decided not to.
A couple of tactical things help me: The O-H-I-O (Only Handle It Once) approach to emails and tasks works well when I use it. Instead of going over a message multiple times when I’m not sure how I want to handle it, I try to deal with it the first time (respond, file, etc.).
On the flip side, knowing when to carefully analyze a situation to anticipate consequences saves a lot of time at work. As I like to say, I don’t like to overkill things but I do like to kill them. By that I mean that I want to get it done right the first time and not have to waste time later because a “shortcut” left someone out of a communication loop. Sometimes you have to “brake to go faster.” The discernment to know when to do it is the key.
I also take a Zero-Based Budgeting approach and analyze all that I do. I realized a while ago that watching sports took a lot of time and didn’t bring that much enjoyment anyway, so I’ve cut it out almost completely. The Steelers won the game? Release mild amount of endorphins. The Steelers lost? Great, I just wasted 3+ hours of my life. That isn’t an indictment of sports watching. If you aren’t consumed by the process and have a net enjoyment, or perhaps it is a family activity, then good for you. But if watching your college team lose spoils your weekend then you have a problem. (Friendly reminder: Those “student athletes” and pros some people worship probably don’t care about you at all and are likely to have vastly different worldviews.)
Consider these words then try this exercise by Randy Alcorn.
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff which life is made of.”
Over three thousand years before Benjamin Franklin said those words, Moses said these:
Teach us to number our days aright,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
The New Testament speaks the same message: “Redeem the time,” or “Make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5b).