Dear fellow human being in this world, you have 24 hours every day to do whatever you want. You are the sum total of how you use those hours.
Your hours and days are so precious, but they will be largely wasted unless they flow out of pre-determined goal or strategies.
“Most people don’t think in terms of minutes. They waste all the minutes nor do they think in terms of their whole life… They are doing a random walk through life, moving without getting anywhere.”
Unlike money, time is not a renewable resource. By working harder or building a business, we can earn more money. But once today’s 24 hours are gone, they will never come back, no matter what we do.
You are probably giving away your time with little or no conscious thought, such as spending too much time on social media, movie marathons, TV binge-watching, excessive house cleaning, playing too much online games, among other things.
Let me ask you something – if I saw a nice Kate Spade bag online and I’ll ask you for some money so I can buy the bag for myself, would you give me money for it? I bet you wont.
You would not indiscriminately give away your money, why give away your time?
You can tell what a person really values by looking at their spending (checkbook/passbook) and their calendar – how they spend their money and time.
The point of all these is not to feel driven although you may feel that way. The point is to get things done as efficiently as possible so that you can give yourself to what you really want to do like getting to know God better, exercising your God-given gifts and give purpose to your passion and bring others to know Him.
So, how are you going to guard yourself against time leaks? Let me suggest these practical steps:
- Make a list of bad habits and obvious time leaks and determine how to change it
You have to allot time to do this, about 1-2 hours depending on your processing time. Get a bound notebook – your journal or a blank piece in your organizer. Divide it into two columns. On one column write “Time Leaks” and on the other column write “Do Better”. Then list all of your bad habits and time leaks. Think about the times when you felt bored, what is your default or go-to activity during these times?
For example, you might be spending two hours scrolling Facebook or Instagram and procrastinating on finishing that chore, job task or school assignment. To change it, maybe you can reduce it to one hour or less. You know what you can handle so work according to it. You can be drastic with the change or you can go gradual. It all depends on your wiring.
Based on our example, you can write under “Time Leaks” – scrolls Facebook mindlessly for 2 hours. Under “Do Better” you can write a variety of options such as uninstall the Facebook app on my mobile and open only on my PC (this means you can pick up your phone as a habit but can’t find the app there and the hassle of turning your PC on can derail you from doing it), or put a timer when I open the app and at 10-minute mark, exit the app.
Only you can tell how you can do better. What is important is you put some guardrails that will make you better.
- Notice and keep a notebook
Because your life is more than just hustling, please don’t just go through the motions of waking up, eating, working, sleeping and repeating the cycle again. How to stop the motion of zombie mode – wake up, eat, go to work, eat, go home, eat, sleep, repeat – daily life punctuated by eating is to train yourself to be more aware of yourself and the environment around you.
Pay attention. Notice. Bring a notebook with you. Your notebook has to be in a size that you can easily bring with you everywhere you go. If you’re like me, you’ll live out of your notebook.
In your notebook, have a calendar to plot your appointments, the working out of your goals, shopping/grocery lists, to-do lists, every reminder you need for living. Let your calendar pages be filled with everything from the hectic to the humdrum.
Why do you need to keep a notebook and a calendar?
- The pressure is off you to remember things.
- Your weeks and days are evenly scheduled.
- You can see at a glance who you are becoming – a frantic employee grinding her day away or becoming a better person having enough time for work, family, friends and your passion
- Your notebook will keep you from wasting your time
- Your notebook will help you put first things first – get a “handle” on life, to steer you and guide you, get reshaped, reoriented to life’s highest and best and to who you are becoming
You may think keeping a notebook or planning is not your personality or not in your temperament, but I honestly believe that if you desire to be more purposeful and impactful with your day not just as someone who is working and repeating the cycle, a notebook is a good tool to keep track of your days.
The whole point of this post is avoiding time leaks by setting up some system that works for you.
YOUR NEXT ACTION:
- Buy yourself a notebook or look for any in your stash that you can use right away. Any notebook will do for as long as you can write on it. You can go grand or you settle for simple. Don’t go broke just because of a cute notebook.
- For starters, you can divide your notebook into calendar pages and Daily To-Dos.
- Start now. If you’re reading this in the morning, take 5-7 minutes to plan the afternoon. If you’re reading this afternoon, take 5-7 minutes to plan the evening. Or if you’re reading this post in the evening, go ahead and plan your tomorrow. Check to see if each activity helps meet God’s design for you, His purpose and calling and where He’s leading you.