“A discretionary hour can be wisely invested or foolishly wasted. Each moment of the day is a gift from God that deserves care, for by any measure, our time is short and the work is great.”
J. Oswald Sanders
1. You are not a victim.
“Each of us has as much time as anyone else. The president of the United States has the same twenty-four hours as we. Others may surpass our abilities, influence, or money, but no one has more time.” [J. Oswald Sanders (2007). Spiritual Leadership]
Think about that. You have the same 24 hours as the president of the United States. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of your own time. It is YOUR time. It is NO ONE ELSE’S. “But I have so much to do!” Well, who chose to do those things? Stop and realize that just like money, time is spent, and you are deciding where to spend it. Start thinking about that now.
2. Do a Time Audit.
Take a few minutes and evaluate your week. Really evaluate it. Start with what amount of time you spend at work, then sleep. Start filling in the gaps with all that extra time. Hobbies. Involvements. Volunteering. TV. Aimless time. This will open your eyes to where you are actually spending your time and help you realize the large amount of time you are wasting.
After doing time check on yourself, now you can plan. Again, start with what you need to do (work, sleep, exercise, school) and then fill in around it. You might have to say no to certain things. Once you get a basic framework down for your week/month, you will also want to plan for the detailed segments of your schedule. For example, if you plan in your week to go to the gym but don’t have a plan for when you are there, you will easily become aimless. Same with work. Plan your days well. Be careful to not be too strict. It is ok to deviate from the plan, but better to move from it then have no plan at all.
4. Learn to Say No.
If we are trying to be good people, we feel we must say yes to everything or we are wrong. But we just have to say no to things. You cannot say yes to everything. You need to have good boundaries. Boundaries are good! When you buy a home and have property, it is good to know where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins. Otherwise you are constantly mowing each other’s yard. Pick up the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and eat it up! It talks about this and why boundaries are so important.
5. Manage Interruptions.
We live in the interruption age. Our phones, computers and lifestyles are constantly interrupted. For those of us who have families or roommates, this is an increased issue. I recommend turning off ALL phone notifications. Or strategically putting your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb mode. I have a philosophy “I check my phone. It doesn’t check me.” I have operated for years now with my phone on silent. It is wonderful. I will have a post soon that explains why I do this. … Protect your times with tasks, with people, with reading, etc. Don’t allow interruptions.
Are there any other ways you gain more time?