"There's only one thing more precious than our time and that's who we spend it on." - Leo Christopher
Truly the one thing that it seems there never is enough of. When we want to find more, the current time seems to move faster. It’s a never-ending chase to find time for everything.
But what’s the first thing we say when someone needs our help?
“I’ll make time for you.”
There are two things to consider here:
1) What are you filling your schedule with?
2) If you can “make” time for others, why can’t you make it for yourself?
Going back to part 1 of this series, you have to realize that you’re the most important person to yourself. You MUST take care of yourself and you MUST be your best to be good to anyone else. That includes making time for yourself first.
Let’s look at question 1: What are you filling your schedule with?
I was lucky enough to take a training class on how to manage your schedule and view the activities in it. I’d like to share that learning with you all by first telling you that you should make a priority list. Sit down and identify what is most important to you and then identify the activities that you need to pursue those goals.
I was just as guilty as anyone when I discovered that my day was filled with “catch” items. Things I did for others, tasks that weren’t planned and emergencies for others that took up most of my day. By the time I went to bed, I’d reflect back and wonder what I had accomplished and I’d look at my own “to-do” list and goal list and nothing had progressed. There are a million fixes to shifting your focus and in a later post, I’ll share a bunch that have worked for me.
The most important thing to realize now is that you control your day. You and you alone determine how your day goes. Focus on 1 thing to accomplish per day. Whether it’s achieving a goal, continuing a good habit (working out, writing, calling a friend/family member, etc.) or setting a progressive goal to a larger accomplishment, protect your day. Don’t get caught up in the time suck that is made up of too many emails, texts, social media and other distractions. Make sure you’re taking care of your schedule first.
The 2nd part of this is “make time” for yourself.
Now, I know there are those of you reading this thinking about your work, family, kids, church schedules and might say out loud, “Sure, when am I going to make time for myself?”
Yes, there are critical commitments like your family, your children, your spouse, etc. But even with those various obligations, you can dictate your schedule and dedicate time to yourself. If you’re an early bird, get up a half hour earlier than normal to exercise, read, plan your day, whatever you need that time for. Night owls can do the same on the other side of the day.
Yes, it’s true, you will sometimes be thrown a curveball (sick child, family emergency, etc.) but the goal is to control a majority of your days.
Treat your day like an attorney and keep track of the time you spend on various things. At the end of the day, review that list. What did you do, how long did you do it and did it push you any closer to a fulfilling day? It’s incredibly easy to lose track of time during the day and get caught up doing something that takes away from things you would rather be doing.
Are you getting engulfed with emails the minute you get to work? Are you spending 15-20 minutes too long in the store because you didn’t make a list? Do you get distracted (as we all do) with interactions via text or social media?
This is where you “make” time by pulling back on the things that aren’t providing you the progressive satisfaction that a focused day does. Even if it’s 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, throughout the course of the day it could very well add up to an hour of time you could be dedicating to something or someone else.
Protect your time and you will protect your happiness. It’s easy to audit your day and “make” the time you need.