It always seems like time is something that people want more of. If only I more time is often a complaint I make or I hear others make. But the reality is we only have 24 hours a day and how we use that time is up to us.
We can use it wisely or we can squander it away.
It always appears that when we complain we don’t have enough time, it is usually because we didn’t use it wisely, to begin with. There are plenty of time suckers we allow into our lives, some good and some not so good– T.V, computers, extracurricular activities, work, hectic schedules, and the list could go on and on.
Well, here’s the thing — everyone has been allotted the same amount of time. We’re all given twenty-four hours per day. The only difference is time between one person and another is how each person chooses to spend those same hours. Everybody is given the same chance, time-wise, to pursue different things. We each choose to spend those hours in a variety of different ways. ~ Organized Simplicity page 49
About two years ago I learned about the game-changing concept — assigning our time just like you tell your money where to go in Amy Lynn Andrew’s short, but incredibly practical, eBook Tell Your Time. Similar to the steps Tsh outlines in this chapter, in Tell Your Time you think through your day examining your priorities, basic everyday tasks that have to be done, and the fun stuff that you would like to do, but if it doesn’t happen then it’s OK.
While working through this time schedule, I became aware of just how ineffective some of my time management had become. I was allowing myself to waste precious time on things that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
For example, screen time… our T.V. was always on mostly serving as background noise while I worked around the house.
The problem with this is I would find myself getting sucked into whatever show was on just because I heard something that was interesting. Before long I had wasted almost an hour of my day watching a T.V. show I wouldn’t normally watch.
I have since stopped allowing the T.V. be on during the day and instead play soft worship music.
Now I’m not saying that T.V. is wrong, I certainly enjoy my fair share of programs that I love, but I have re-evaluated the time that I would spend watching hours of T.V. just because it was on.
We have a DVR so I just record the shows I want to watch so I can watch them at my leisure and when it best works for my time… an added benefit is more time saved because I can fast forward through commercials.
Most shows can now be streamed online, some for free through the network’s website while some you have to pay a membership fee for like Amazon Prime.
Another area where I was wasting time was procrastination, finding every excuse not to complete something. So instead of just completing tasks on my daily to-do list (like clean the bathroom, I’m a master at procrastinator on this chore!), I would waste precious time by doing other things that may or may not have needed to be completed.
A little over a year ago I read the book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy.
Another Aha! moment book. The concept of this book was to “eat the frog” first thing, meaning complete the hardest or most time-consuming task first thing in your day.
Get it over with and done.
To be honest, I’m still terrible with this, but on days when I do “eat the frog“, I find that I am more productive and use my time wisely.
One last final area where time might not be used as effectively is our schedules. My kids and I are involved in carefully selected activities but sometimes, we feel the pressure to be doing too many things or saying YES to activities or responsibilities.
Your family might be running all over the place.
The point is there is nothing wrong with those activities, but Tsh makes some important points:
- Are you doing it to make others happy?
- Is it really necessary?
- Is it simply part of your current season of life?
- Do you have the time?
It would be easy for me to make the bold statement that my kids will only be allowed to participate in one activity at a time, but how many other well-meaning parents have also made that exact same statement before too?
I don’t want to eat my words later, so I want to remember those questions above and ultimately remember what my family’s purpose statement is as we craft out a family calendar. Right now since my kids are little, our days are different every day. It’s hard to make a structured time schedule, but that’s why I like having simple routines in place.
Routines allow for flexibility and grace, which is something that we need!
I often remind myself that flexibility is the key to enjoying the early years of life with young children… Life with little ones is always evolving. Just when you thing you have something figured out, the entire game plan changes, the phase passes, and there’s something new to tackle. ~ Jamie Martin’s Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood as quoted in Organized Simplicity on page 65.
How true is that!
I think flexibility applies to every season of life as well, not just to moms with little ones in the home.
**As a side note, Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood is a wonderful, practical little book that I highly recommend to young moms who desperately want to be intentional in their roles as mothers to young ones as well as simple ideas and tricks to make your days and home run smoothly.
There is so much more that could be said about using time wisely. If you struggle with this area, as I still do :), I highly recommend checking out a few of the books I recommended above.
I also love the simple tips Tsh gives at the end of the chapter in The Nitty-Gritty section — including jotting events down on the calendar as soon as you can, a weekly meeting with your husband (this is something that my husband and I have been doing since we first got married), and creating simple routines.
What tips or advice do you have for best utilizing your time?