Every day you have an account with 1,440 minutes in it. If you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep per night, then you are using 480 of them on rest. Assuming you work a regular 8-hour job means that you just used another 480 on a workday. Taking away sleep and work right off the top and you’re already down to 480 minutes remaining in the day. It’s no wonder we can’t find time in the day to get things done.
You only have 8 hours left that isn’t already consumed with work and sleep. We could go through a list of other tasks that take away from your 1,440 like the commute to work, eating, bathing and grooming, and other daily activities. Each event in your day is withdrawing more and more of your available time.
You’ve probably said that you’ll get that project done when you’re able to find the time. That statement is kind of like saying you don’t have time to do what you need.
If you want to accomplish your goals, you must make time.
- Plan your time. When you don’t plan what you’re going to do in advance, you will likely not find time in your day to get to it. On the other hand, if you plan your day, you’re more likely to stick to your plan and do everything you need. You can do this by using any calendar or calendar app. At work, I use three tools to plan my day.
First, I use a legal pad to track and plan the tasks I need to accomplish. I have my own short-hand ways of prioritizing those tasks.
Second, I use Google Calendar to plan all of my appointments and meetings. It connects to my phone, so whether I’m at the desk or away from the office, I get an alert when I have somewhere to be.
Finally, I use an old school day planner. It is normally matched up with my calendar, and prioritized tasks get scheduled in it as well. Furthermore, if I have a thought come to mind I need to mention at a meeting, I use the notes section to mark it down so I won’t forget.
- Prioritize your time. You are the owner of your time. When you give your time to someone or something else, you are investing your time. When I invest, I want to make sure I prioritize where my investment goes, especially with a finite resource.
I have roughly 45 employees under my charge. As the Chief Operations Officer at a social service agency, I am responsible for all of the day-to-day activities and operations of the organization. Along with the 45 employees under my charge are roughly 1,000 volunteers who help our paid staff accomplish our mission. I can’t effectively manage or give my time to 1,045 people.
I have two direct reports. One is responsible for the operational side of what we do. She is responsible for areas like maintenance, food services, and our clothing program. My second direct report is responsible for all of our case management programs and staff.
I invest my time in those two people so they can invest in their direct reports and so on. It doesn’t make sense for me to regularly invest my time in a maintenance technician at the expense of my director of operations. I do invest time in all of the employees in my care, but I prioritize my time to those who need my time specifically.
Policy and procedure development is also something I am responsible for doing. That means that I need to invest my time in researching best practices, appropriate laws, and contextualization to our facilities. I can’t produce effective policy and procedures if I don’t invest my time into researching the right information.
- Protect your time. You are the only one who is going to protect your time. Everyone will take your time if you don’t protect it. I have a friend who pastors a church in Bluffton South Carolina. When I was visiting him a few years ago, he told me that he could be in meetings every night of the week if he didn’t say, “No” to some of the requests for his time that come in.
When I was the executive director of Relevant Hope, I asked another friend of mine who is prominent in the community to join our board of directors. He came back to me a few days later and told me he couldn’t join our board because his time was already committed to too many other things. I was ready to take his time, but he was protecting his time. If you want to manage your time effectively, you must protect it because no one else will.
Question: How do you use your time? Where are you looking for more time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.