Time management has always been something I thought I was good at. I keep things organized, follow schedules when necessary, and even manage schedules for other businesses and companies. I’m also not too shabby at keeping my schedule on a schedule. It’s something I enjoy. But if I’m honest, over the last several months, my time management skills have gone down the drain. And if I’m super honest, I’ve allowed other people to dictate my time, taking it out of my hands and putting myself on other peoples schedules. Exactly; not a good thing!
Healthy time management skills are critical.
I’ve had a ridiculous amount of practice trying to balance different aspects of my life, just like many of you. These aspects include serving at my local church, being a wife, a bonus mom, my corporate job, owning a franchise, playing an active role in my husbands business, being a brand ambassador of an inspirational clothing line and supporting different organizations and non-profits. Talk about busy, but no different than the list of things many of you are also juggling.
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 NIV
The question becomes, are we effective in managing the demands in our lives? Are we setting aside the most important parts of our days to prayer, worship, and praise? We are setting ourselves up for failure if we are prioritizing work and the demands of man, then squeezing in God where we can. Setting clear boundaries in our personal lives can help create the framework for a successful day. This is where I have failed over the last several months.
We are people of purpose.
Engaging in the many things this world has to offer us is what we were created to do. What we weren’t created for is stress, anxiety, the feeling of being overwhelmed and stretched beyond limits that we can bear. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with living with purpose. Living with purpose with effective time management is even better. Nothing wrong with having a sense of urgency. When these urgencies create stress and pull us away from healthy time management, that’s when we should take a step back and evaluate our priorities.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
If we don’t take time to set boundaries in our schedules, someone else will; which is exactly what happened to me. I became a victim of work phone calls. A victim of ensuring I was always connected and available for other commitments. At one point, I was even 14 days behind on my daily devotional, something I have always made a priority.
Does your daily routine start with Jesus in mind?
If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person. In fact, it takes me a solid hour before I think I’m operating at full capacity. Mind you; I’m married to a morning person. God did that on purpose. I’m not at all complaining. My honey-do list is done while my husband is asleep and his honey-do list is done before I even wake up — a true blessing in disguise.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35 NIV
When my husband and I first started dating, he knew not to call me first thing in the morning. I would wake up every morning to see a text that read something like this: “Good morning babe, I love you. Call me after your devotional.” And I have to admit there were times he would call me right in the middle of my devotional and ask me if I was done. I would say no, and he kindly let me go until I was done.
“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37 NIV
Talk about serious boundaries, right? But I haven’t been as firm with my boundaries here lately. Instead of starting my day as I usually would in time with God, I go straight to checking my work email on my phone. Instead of praising God and listening to worship music on my drive to work, I was taking business calls and planning the day ahead of me. And trust me, it showed. I was full of anxiety and stressed out before I even got to the office. By lunch, I was irritated and couldn’t figure out why.
Time management isn’t just for your professional life.
When I started to see this pattern, and people around me started to recognize it, I knew I had fallen off track. I quickly re-establishes my woe boundaries and put God back in his rightful place. Was I doing anything wrong? Absolutely not. Did I need to make adjustments in the way I approached my days? Absolutely.
Related Post: In God’s Perfect Timing, He Will Make Things Happen
Sometimes boundaries get overlooked by others and even yourself when we aren’t careful. No one is to blame; it’s a simple course correction. Over the last several weeks, I have done simple but effective things to get back on track. Here are just a few:
- Use technology to your advantage – I was allowing non-family related calls and messages during my phones “Do Not Disturb” time. Easy fix!
- Stick to your schedule – Of course, there are busy days when things require your attention past regularly scheduled hours. What’s important is that we not allow these days to become the norm. I scheduled personal time like massages, dinner, and family time to make sure I ended my days on time.
- If you have benefits at work, use them – I have been accruing a lot of paid time off because “work can’t go on without me.” This is the furthest from the truth. Companies give their employees vacation days for a reason, and I have several trips planned.
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you – my husband and parents were concerned with the amount of stress I was putting on myself. Ultimately, my body started telling me the same thing. After recognizing that I had missed some regular follow up appointments, I scheduled them all. Besides, what good am I to other people if I’m not good to myself?
Very few tasks are truly essential. We have to get into the habit of identifying which ones are critical and focus on those until completion. The rest can wait.