I think one of the biggest struggles we all face is managing our time and making the most of our time. It's the one thing that we all get the same amount of, yet we all manage it differently. You and I have the same amount of time in our day as the most successful people in the world. Time is one of our most precious resources because it's the one that we can never get back. We spend countless hours on social media, bingeing on Netflix, listening to podcasts, seeing friends and family... the list goes on and on. But have you ever stopped to evaluate how you are spending your time? I have to do this constantly because I can easily waste time if I'm not careful. I love how John Maxwell puts it, "Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we live our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have." We have to set our priorities and constantly evaluate them in order to achieve our goals.
Over the years I've found the best ways for me to manage my time is through creating a schedule and having the discipline to stick to it. I can waste time with the best of them, but when I stay disciplined I'm able to reach my goals and get everything done. Some may be surprised to learn I work a full-time job and run this community/ blog on the side. I get asked often how I'm able to do it all since it's essentially like having two jobs. I'm definitely not perfect at it, but I've learned a few things that I want to share that will hopefully help.
- Set your goals and create a plan
Before you can begin managing your time better, you need to determine what you want to spend it on. What are your goals in life? What matters most to you? Think about it and write down your values, goals and dreams. Then write down what you want to accomplish in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 5 years. For example, if you want to start a blog but say you just don't have the time, take a look at where you are spending your time by doing a life audit. If you have a full time job, see what area's of free time you have and decide if you want to spend your free hours watching TV, writing or doing other things. When you set your priorities and evaluate what's stealing your time then you'll be able to decide what you want to spend your time on.
- Create a schedule and block your time
Now that you've determined what's eating your time and what your goals are, it's time to get organized by creating a schedule. Anyone can do this, but it takes discipline because not only do you need to create your schedule but you need to actually stick to it. One of the ways that I do this is by blocking out my time each week. I know that I work from 8-5pm so typically I only have early mornings and evenings to get my side-hustle work done. This is easier for me as a single person because I only have myself to worry about, but even if you are married you can discuss this with your spouse to make sure you are both accomplishing your goals. I block out time 2-3 nights a week for blogging, writing, planning content, designing, etc. On Monday nights after I workout and eat dinner, I write/ plan content for 2-3 hours. On Wednesday nights, I work on designing websites, graphics, etc. for my business. It may seem over the top, but I have each week typically planned out fully so that I know where my time is going and what I can accomplish. This varies by season and is just an example of what my week might look like.
- Develop Discipline
We have to develop a discipline in how we spend our time or we will never reach our goals because our time will be floating away. I've been there before and I've gone through seasons of wasting time where I look back kicking myself because I could've reached goals sooner had I not been distracted. Rachel Hollis says, "Success in any area of your life is the difference between choosing what you want most over what you want now." We have to have an eternal perspective and keep the bigger picture in mind. If you want to be an author or blogger or fill in the blank, you need to keep that at the fore front of your mind to work towards your big goals instead of getting bogged down in your current circumstances. It's easy to have a pity party that turns into a pity festival but we've got to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep going when things get hard. We have to push through the hard times to reach our goals.
- Stop trying to be all things to all people
I'm speaking to myself here too. We can't be all things to all people. Life was made into seasons for a reason because no matter what the media says we just can't do it all. If you do, you'll get burnt out so fast and end up wasting more time. Being busy and hustling are not the same as working on your goals and making the most of your time. Our society tells us we have to be in the constant hustle to show our worth, but it's the biggest lie because it causes us to over extend ourselves. As Pastor Craig Groeschel says, "If the Devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." When you take the pressure off of yourself to do it all, you can breathe while stepping back to say, "Okay in this season, I want to accomplish ___ and will focus on these X amount of items." I do this every quarter. When I was writing my book, I chose not to do certain things so that I could focus on the goal at hand. I still had community, but it was based around my writing schedule. I had to determine for myself what load I could handle in one season.
My hope is that you will begin to evaluate these things for your own life and begin to find freedom from wasting time. I hope that you'll be able to reach the goals and dreams you have for your life. You can do this!! If you want more tips on managing your priorities, a calendar and goal setting template and priority list, click here to get your free priority management bundle.
Let me know in the comments below other tips you have for time management!