Life in the modern era has become more and more of a sophisticated juggling act. Time management skills have become increasingly important: work, family, leisure, health – managing all our responsibilities is no easy feat. And if you have kids, well, it’s like having more balls to juggle and fewer hands!
How do we learn to manage our time when there are so many people demanding it – including ourselves? Step one is prioritizing. You have to know yourself and what’s important to you. For some people, exercising three times a week is a non-negotiable; for others, it’s an ideal to meet one day. Some parents are happy to spend a few minutes a day with their children; others want hours. There’s no right or wrong way to prioritize – but you have to take the time to figure out what works for you. What’s important to you? What isn’t? This requires some introspection and honesty to get clear answers.
Once you know what your top priorities are, make sure you are living in accordance with them. That is to say, if your kids are a high priority and your old friends from high school are a low priority, then you should probably be choosing to play blocks on the floor than sitting at the computer reading Facebook updates. (The catch is that’s it much easier to browse on Facebook than it is to give prolonged attention to a toddler playing aimlessly with blocks.) Catching yourself in the moment is a good way to notice whether what you are doing now is in line with your priorities or not.
Better than catching yourself in the moment, of course, is planning ahead. This reminds me of Stephen Covey’s metaphor in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for habit number 7, “Sharpen the Saw.” Imagine coming across a guy trying to saw down a tree with a blunt saw. You might say, “Hey Friend, I bet you’d be able to chop that thing down much faster if you sharpened your saw!” And he responds, “I don’t have time for that! I have to cut down this tree!”
Similarly, taking the time to plan a weekly schedule might seem like a luxury you can’t afford; but the truth is, rather than costing you a few minutes from your short supply of time, it will actually increase the amount of usable time you have by cutting out wasted minutes and hours.
Successful time management is a goal to strive for, not a one-time change you make. If you need help getting your schedule or your life on track, be in touch with us today!
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