Time Is Precious – Use It Wisely

Where did 2012 go?  It seems like last New Year’s Eve was just last week, not last year! Life is flying by at 58!
Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? When we’re having a blast, it’s like someone is pushing the “fast forward” button. In contrast, if we have a two-point lead with three minutes left in the game, it seems like an eternity.
Whether time flies or moves at glacial speed, we have 24 hours in a day and no choice in the matter. We use it or lose it. And, because time is one of our most prized possessions (recall it’s one of our three primary assets—along with talent and treasure), we need to use it wisely.
How do you become a good manager of time? Try the following:

  • Treat your time as a precious asset with limited capacity
  • Organize a to-do list by urgency (deadline) and priority (importance). Take both into account when deciding what to focus on each day.
  •  “Block” your time (i.e., group it in 30-60 minute intervals without interruption) in order to complete your highest priority assignments. Avoid interspersing lower priority tasks within your high priority assignment intervals. Take control of your time!
  • Don’t hesitate to politely tell someone that it’s an inconvenient time for you. Interruptions can destroy your productivity if you allow it.
  • Learn to multi-task (i.e. simultaneously performing) your lower priority responsibilities. For example, I rarely watch television without doing something else like reading the newspaper.
  • Keep your cell phone somewhere else when you need focused time. The temptation to answer calls and texts is a major distraction.
  • Find your best venue for focused work.
  • Take periodic breaks. Studies show we’re less productive when we work over an hour straight without a five-minute break. Breaks help our mind recharge.
  • Respect and honor the time of others by being punctual.
  • Always remember that you can’t recover the time you waste!

Becoming a wise time manager is an admirable New Year’s Resolution. Is it yours?
How productive are you with your time? Do you view it as a precious asset and focus on your most important priorities? What are some ways you have learned to become a more effective time manager? Share your thoughts and ideas with us!

Diversify Your Life

“Crazy busy!”
These days, that’s the most popular answer when I ask someone, “How have you been?” We’re either rushing ourselves or our kids from here to there, getting stuck in a fast-paced rut, and all too often not finding the time to do the things we really want to do! Something tells me it wasn’t always this way.
Are you someone who focuses your life in just a few areas? Do you find yourself complaining about being stuck in a “rut,” or are your interests varied and your experiences diverse? Do you pace yourself, or run full steam ahead?
One way to gauge this—and have a more measured approach to life—is to take a “personal diversity survey.” Think of the following important areas of your life:

  1. Relationships—family and friends
  2. Marriage and parenting
  3. Career or school
  4. Spiritual life
  5. Entertainment
  6. Learning
  7. Physical activity
  8. Travel and leisure
  9. Arts and nature
  10. Hobbies
  11. Community service/volunteerism
  12. Down time

Consider how you’re allocating your time to these areas. Is it spread out or concentrated in only a few areas? Variety will diversify who you are and enrich your life. But, it means taking control of our “busyness.”
Here’s a suggestion: This week, talk to your family about how each person might diversify his or her life. Ask them to contribute some of their ideas for how to pursue new interests and activities. Then take one idea from your discussion and DO IT!
How varied are your interests and how balanced is your life? Reflect on the above list and identify potential areas in which you are “under-spending” in your life. Is it time to spread things around a little? Share your comments below; we’d love to hear from you!