This week, we’re taking a look at time management. If we’re going to effectively love and serve others, time is a resource we need to make the most of!
In this first post, I want to encourage you to fight the idea of time apathy. DO NOT settle for doing just o.k. or even good. I’m fond of the saying, “Good is often the enemy of the best.” You’re on this planet for a reason (several, really). But so often, we become content just doing things the way they’ve always been done. We get used to living our life a certain way and it becomes comfortable.
I heard a great illustration yesterday. Apparently, there is a sign on an Alaskan highway that reads, “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next two hundred miles.” Yikes! That’s also a pretty accurate description of the way we use our time. Being creatures of habit, it’s important for us to constantly reflect on our time usage and see where it could change.
In order to do that, we need to take a time inventory.
They say the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. This is why it’s so important to count up our time. Seriously, this may seem basic or tedious, but until you figure out where your time is going you’re never going to be able to maximize its effectiveness.
To do this, take a 7 day week and count how you spend your hours. Don’t make a schedule, just divvy out the hours. Here’s an example:
There are 168 hours in a week so we start with that. Now, how do we use them? Your numbers may vary from mine, but you’ll get the point.
8 hours of sleep per night = 56 hours
8 hours a day at work for 5 days = 40 hours (most people work more)
Time spent preparing, eating, and cleaning meals = 11 hours
Time spent driving (commuting, going to friends, church, etc…) = 12 hours
Time spent watching tv or movies (if you don’t watch tv, insert whatever hobby you have) = 20 hours
Church/Religious activity/Volunteering = 7 hours
Recreation with family/friends = 8 hours
Time on Internet (News, Email, Facebook, etc) = 14
Clearly, those are just rough estimates. They vary from person to person. But think about how you spend an average week. Count up those hours and see what you do. Make sure it adds up to 168. Try to be as accurate as possible even if takes you a few minutes to think through each thing you do. You may be amazed at how much time you spend in certain areas!
A few months ago, I realized I spent 15 minutes of my morning on the internet (games, Facebook, sports, news) before work. I did this 3 times a week. That’s 45 minutes. I challenged myself to use that time in some other way. I could pray, write someone an encouraging note, read the Bible, clean up for my wife. The options are limitless. Sad to say, it’s much easier to get on the internet and so most of the time I do! I’m still working to change that, but I never would have realized it had I not done some self-examining.
That’s the point. We must know where our time is going. Challenge yourself to count your time up honestly. Maybe I’m alone. Maybe I’m the only one who feels he wastes our most valuable resource. But, I expect some of you will do a double take as you count up your hours. Regardless, you’ll find this exercise to be useful guide as we discover more practical advice each day.
Besides sleep and work, where did you find most of your time went?
Did you discover anything shocking?
Am I a nutball for counting up my time? (don’t answer that!)
Do you think you could use your time more effectively?