We can’t manufacture time which is why we have to use what we have to make every moment count. Another festive season and holiday have passed in a blur and if you are like me, you are asking where the time went. Did I accomplish all that I wanted to? Spend enough time with the people I care about? Did I use my time wisely?
“I don’t have the time”
When I attended a life coaching course more than 12 years ago, the coach tried to convince me that I could find the time to dedicate to achieving my goals and ideal life. I disagreed. We went through my daily schedule and even he had to admit, there wasn’t much spare time once I had finished work and managing a single parent household.
Perhaps you are in a similar season and I respect that. I want to encourage you though that it is not forever. I had little free time at my disposal back then, but I made the most of the time I had. Even if it was a few minutes here and there, I kept my hopes and aspirations alive. Until the time came when I could spend more time pursuing my dreams and eventually reaching a point where I could focus on it full time.
Managing our lives effectively
When we think about how we spend our days, there are two aspects to consider: how we manage our busy lives to accomplish the important and the necessary, and how we use our spare time. Think of it like you would your monthly budget. You pay the bills and then you invest a portion.
Managing our workload
We can’t ‘manage time’, we have to manage our lives within the time we have available. I won’t delve too deeply into planning and organizing daily schedules as we addressed that in the post on ‘Boundaries’. For a refresher, you can visit the page by clicking here.
How to make more time available
If you are anything like me, I try and do it all myself and then wonder why I run out of time. Don’t be scared to delegate and ask for help. This does not make us incompetent and useless, it means we are wise and it is a necessary part of managing our lives. If you have plenty of time on your hands and you can do everything yourself, great. If you are exhausted and chasing your tail, not so great. Take a good look at your schedule and see where you can possibly use some assistance.
Closely related to delegating is saying no. Ouch. This is especially for the people pleasers amongst us. I recently lectured my daughter on how she must say no to somebody who is taking advantage of her. Midway, I realized I would have a hard time doing exactly what I was telling her to do. When you have a habit of always saying yes, being able to say no requires a mindset change. You cannot make every moment count if you are tired and overwhelmed by overextending yourself.
Look for opportunities to make every moment count
We can’t get away from work and everyday chores, so look out for opportunities to make them more interesting. Listen to music, an audiobook or the news while you sweep the floor or drive in your car. Time will pass quicker and you are enriching your mind at the same time. I am not an advocator of multi-tasking in all situations but at times, it can be beneficial. If something requires all your energy and attention, by all means, do that one thing and do it properly, it will save you time in the long run.
There are those people who thrive on being busy all the time and there is no sin in that. I suggest that you ensure you funnel your energy in the right direction and not all over the place which can be exhausting and counterproductive. Be aware that busyness can rob you of enjoying the moment and you risk missing out on the small things.
Working in batches or blocks can also free up more time. I do this within my business all the time. I set aside time for admin, for emails, for writing and for enriching my knowledge. Then there are blocks of time for home, for family etc. See what your workload consists of and see if you can do something similar.
Make every moment count
Break the habit of laziness and plan to make your spare time count. We can so easily fall into the mindset of “I’ve worked all day, I have the right to sit in front of the TV for 4 hours.” Once you have eliminated the chaff and planned the essential tasks, you can decide how to use the time you have left wisely. This is where you can really rock your fabulous, whatever that may mean to you as an individual. What will fill your well?
It may be:
- more family time
- more time with friends
- quiet times with the Lord
- a charitable cause
- a fitness goal
- a second income
- further education
- making a difference in someone’s life
- learn to dance
Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 11:6 “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” ~ Solomon. +/- 935 BC.
No time or not a priority?
There is a difference between genuinely not having time and not finding the time because something is not a priority for you. It is often so easy to say I don’t have the time rather than face the real reason. Know the difference. Do you ever get that niggle of guilt when you tell somebody you couldn’t do something because you didn’t have time? Meanwhile, you know you did have the time, but it was not on your list of priorities.
Define your values and beliefs
Often when we say we don’t have time, what we actually mean is, it is not that important to me. If it is important enough, we will find the time. What are your priorities right now? What do you value most? You may have different priorities depending on the season of your life. When you focus on what is important and meaningful to you, you will find you have more energy and motivation to do more.
Oprah Winfrey says “I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.”
Perhaps you are crippled by self-limiting beliefs; I don’t have the energy, the courage, the resources or the desire. Using the time excuse can disguise a self-limiting belief we don’t want to admit to. Be brutally honest with yourself here. Are you procrastinating because of an underlying fear?
If you are frustrated because days are passing by and you are not progressing in the areas you want to, it is time to change and make every moment count. Make the most of the precious time you have to enrich your life and achieve those elusive goals and dreams.
How do we do that?
Challenge the thought that you don’t have time. Keep a journal of all the times you use that as an excuse. Write down all the things you would love to do but don’t because you believe that you don’t have the time.
Look at each item on your list and ask yourself these questions:
- How important is this to me?
- Why do I want to do it?
- How will it benefit me and those around me if I do it?
- What will it cost if I don’t do it?
- Is it causing me stress because I am not doing it?
- What is really holding me back from doing it? Why?
- What can I change or do differently to make the time? What time wasters can I eliminate?
Take a moment to rest
Making every moment count does not mean you must work like a bee for 24 hours a day. Our bodies need rest too and rejuvenating rest is not idleness. The signs of burnout and exhaustion can creep up without you realizing it so be sure to set time aside to relax before it happens.
If you haven’t already, start a journal. Journals are a great way to keep track of the thoughts that are racing through our minds. Set some time aside to sit quietly and work through the following questions.
- What daily tasks can I delegate?
- Which ones can I do more efficiently through careful planning?
- How can I make every moment count even in the mundane activities?
- What are my priorities?
- What are my values?
- Make a list of the things you would love to do more of.
- Answer the questions in the section on “How do we do that?”
If there is something that you are really struggling with on your own and you would like prayer, somebody to chat to or advice, you are welcome to:
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