Time management is one of those go-to topics for business sites and personal development blogs. We’re always learning and discussing new ways to hack our schedule and get more out of available time. And while some ideas work great for a select group of readers, other readers find the advice completely incompatible with their lifestyles. So why do we keep obsessing over it all? Is it really that important of a topic?
Let’s take a step back from the possible minutes or hours saved with killer time-saving tips. Let’s look at the big chunks of time that we spend daily and weekly. Are we spending those where we want? Is the 40-hour (or 80-hour, as the case may be) work week interesting or satisfying? Is the relationship that takes up evenings and weekends healthy and enjoyable? Is that nightly television time helping you relax, or is it sucking out your enthusiasm? (Not picking on TV here, just our usage of time.)
Just this week, I heard the idea of the way that we spend our time and energy compared to giving our strength away. The context I heard was in that book of wisdom called Proverbs, but it also reminded of the song A Life Uncommon by Jewel. Take a look.
Keep to a path far from her [meaning temptation], do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, (Proverbs 5:8-9)
And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from Fill your lives with love and bravery, and you shall lead A life uncommon (A Life Uncommon by Jewel)
We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve gotten to the end of their lives only to look back with regret. The trouble with that kind of story is two-fold. One, I’m really not into guilt-trip kinds of stories. They’re tiresome, and they’re often used for less than noble purposes. Two, I’m not in my nineties yet, so I think I’ll still have a while to live. I’m not exactly concerned with all my missed opportunities for my entire life just yet.
So rather than looking at a sob story, let’s just consider this week. At the end of this week, consider if you’ve spent your week the way you wanted to. Write down your thoughts.
I have some online friends that really helped get this idea in my head (Thanks, Shanna!), and it really has made a big difference in how intentional I am about my time. I am more productive (time-management gurus rejoice), and I am also getting more rest than I used to. By deliberately planning more time away from the computer and from trying to come up with ideas, my writing is more focused.
There are a number of systems that can help guide you through a period of weekly reflection. I’m currently using a blend of stuff from Scott Dinsmore and Michael Hyatt, but you can come up with your own system. The main idea is just to consider where your time (a.k.a. your strength) is going. Your ideal week will look different than mine and probably everyone else’s, too. That’s okay. You have unique gifts that you can offer this world that no else can. So, how are you going to use your time next week to make the world a better place?