Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time Management

Successfully managing your time implies that you are accomplishing what is the most important for you.

When you don't accomplish what you truly want, you feel overwhelmed, compromised, frustrated, stressed out. A lot of times people try to use time management techniques that work for other people, only to be disappointed. Often this is because they haven’t figured out what goals are the most important to them and gear the techniques toward those goals.

So the first step in effective time management has to include techniques for good prioritizing.

Myths About Time Management
(1) MYTH: My life is completely controlled by external events.

FACT: You can have some control over a lot of what happens in your life, but you are the only one who can initiate that control. Ask God to help you recognize what you can control, and what you can't control before you start figuring out what you’re going to do with your day. Be realistic about how long things take to do, and how much time you need between things. Put in margin for travel time, for rest and meals, for unexpected interruptions.

(2) MYTH: I should be able to meet everyone's expectations.

FACT: Other people’s expectations of you are not always going to be realistic. Some- times other people’s expectations are based on a different set of priorities than yours. Ask God to show you what He expects of you, and how you can please Him first.

(3) MYTH: I should have no limits.

FACT: We all have limits. Sometimes we can trip ourselves up by expecting perfection, and only God is perfect. Instead ask God to show you how to be efficient and responsible with the resources He has given you. Ask God to show you how to strive for excellence, without getting hung up on perfection.

Try some specific techniques
(1) Organize your day around your energy levels. Figure out when your energy is high and do your most important things, like praying and studying God’s word, then. Save your less important work for those times when you have less energy.

(2) Optimize your work environment. Keep the things you need, like your Bible, your lesson and something to write with, in your work area. Make sure the environment is good for concentrating as well as for comfort. You know what works best for you.

(3) Safeguard blocks of time. Instead of looking at the deadline, look at when you should start doing something. Protect your time by saying "no" to the kinds of interruptions you can avoid – you don’t have to answer the phone or e-mail right now.

(4) Prioritize the things you want to do. You know you’re going to prepare and serve three meals today, you’re going to shower and clean up, and you’re going to go to bed. Those are nonnegotiable, so you plan around them. What else is nonnegotiable? Make spending time in God’s word as high a priority as eating a meal.

(5) Plan ahead according to your priorities. If you neglect certain activities they will catch up with you eventually, throw your life out of balance and undermine your high priority efforts. If you have a tendency to procrastinate, then include them in your planning and reward yourself for doing them. You are, in essence, parenting yourself as you teach yourself better habits.

(6) Avoid over-planning. Don’t make yourself crazy. Ask God to continually show you where you are being responsible and where you can do better. Thank Him for His wisdom, and then act on it.

The truly disciplined person is the person who can do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment and join the conversation

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