Lord knows this week’s post on stewardship of time is being proffered at a most ironic time of year. As a high school teacher in late May, my life is crazy busy right now. Seriously, I’m sitting in a sea of folded and unfolded laundry typing this. Time management is an issue.
Grading research papers, squeezing in instruction during the final weeks of school, and trying to manage my own life make me feel woefully underqualified to speak to an audience on the topic of time management.
Then I thought – what better time to talk to you than when I am feeling pressed? I can reflect for a moment on the importance of time management and think of how I can position myself better this time next year. We are walking together through this stewardship journey after all.
Let’s get right to it:
BECOMING MASTER OF YOUR TIME
Please hear me. I am preaching to myself here, as I struggle to balance my own time management.
If we do not declare ourselves masters of our calendars, they will overmaster us. I know this because it used to be my norm. My life was frantic and it wasn’t good.
If we do not declare ourselves masters of our calendars, they will overmaster us.
Even now, there are swells of busyness that unsettle me and I must regain a foothold if I am to be master of my own calendar. Admittedly, this isn’t always easy because commitments confine us sometimes. Here are some of the things I am working on to master my time:
1. Kid Calendar Control
Your kids can and will survive if they don’t join umpteen activities and attend every social function they are invited to. This is a proven fact. I have three kiddos and they have all survived thus far.
Decide how much you are willing to run around during the week and then allow your kids to choose their activities. Mine are in Cub Scouts/Girl Scouts. We also have church twice a week. That’s enough for us.
We have decided as a family that organized sports are not for us because they demand too much weeknight time and more weekend time than we are willing to devote. Besides this, they are disproportionately competitive for children so young.
Sports aren’t like they used to be when I was a kid. Softball was in the spring and the season lasted about 2 months. Now, it is 12 months of any sport your kids want. This could honestly be a whole post in itself. Actually, I’ve got one in the works.
2. Harness the Power of NO
Learn to say yes wisely and say no firmly so that you can participate without becoming overwhelmed.
There is no shame in not accepting every invitation you are offered. You and your family may be invited to parties and other gatherings and feel an obligation to attend. You aren’t obligated. Really!
Obviously for close family gatherings, you’ll want to carefully weigh what you can do. But birthday parties to which the whole second grade is invited on a day when you have two other things to do? Nope.
At church, or even at work, you do not have a join every committee and attend every meeting that isn’t mandatory. The world will go on without you. Learn to say yes wisely and say no firmly so that you can participate without becoming overwhelmed.
Saying no will feel difficult at first. However, you’ll soon find it liberating to take control of your time by politely declining things that would tax your schedule. Trust me on this.
3. Make a Plan
I’ve found that without a plan, my life and time become a runaway train. If you want to get together with a friend, put it on the calendar – even if it is weeks or months in advance.
This is even more important for dates with your spouse. My husband and I are going out on Friday night to celebrate 25 years since we started dating. It’s been planned for nearly 2 months.
This is something I need to reinstate after several months of being undisciplined. I need to be more intentional about putting social time on the calendar.
The editorial calendar for my writing is a hot mess right now (nonexistent). I’ve been writing right up to deadlines. This weekend, I am going to sit down and plan the whole summer of posts and work I want to accomplish.
4. Stop Wasting Time
Oh my gosh. We could really go down a rabbit hole watching YouTube videos, scrolling on Facebook, or watching bad TV. Let’s stop. Cold turkey. We have better things to do.
When I sense I am spending too much time on social media, I will do a fast from it by removing the apps from my phone. If I know I am coming up on a busy time, I will do this to help myself be more productive.
Make a projected list of what supplies and groceries you’ll need so you aren’t constantly running to the store all week. When I plan well, I shop well. Poor planning causes wasted time.
5. Make Margin
Back in the early days of the blog, I wrote a post on MARGIN that addresses the overall idea that leaving “wiggle room” in your life in the areas of time, finances, etc. is a critical component to a healthy existence. I encourage you to click the link in this section and read the post.
Basically, the points above this one work together to create margin. When you have wiggle room in your calendar, you can have a spontaneous lunch with a friend, a last minute neighborhood gathering, or just a night at home to decompress and watch a movie as a family.
There are few things more wonderful than getting to Friday and realizing I have NO PLANS for the weekend. This is kind of the best feeling going at this point in my life.
One of my favorite sayings is that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Bringing your time management and schedule into a healthy state will require some sacrifice and perhaps a bit of tension. This is normal and it is OK.
Very few good things come easily without a bit of pain in the process. I hope you will think about maybe just one of these points and consider how you can implement it as you begin the journey of mastering your time. Over the holiday weekend, I will be reading my own post and thinking about where I want to improve.
Very few good things come easily without a bit of pain in the process.
Let me know what your time management tips and plans are in the comments below.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.