Time management is always a topic of discussion among women’s leaders. Many women are juggling children, jobs and ministry reponsibilities all at the same time. It’s no wonder the number one complaint (or excuse) I hear from women is that they are too busy and worn out.
So what are some practical ways you can make better use of the time God has given you? We are all given the same amount each day, but how we utilize our time may say a lot about how you are equipped to lead.
1. Seek God’s Guidance. God has ordained for you a series of good works He wants you to accomplish. Ask the Lord each morning to help you identify the priorities of each day. If you know me personally, you know I always have a list. It helps me stay organized and focused. Plus, when unexpected things come during the day, I just add them to the list. For instance, yesterday, I got called into a meeting that was not on my agenda, dealt with the maintenance crew coming unexpectedly to move some furniture in my office and coordinated a video shoot in the midst of everything.
2. Keep your area organized. While many people might not be able to find things in my office, I have a pretty good idea of where everything is and how to get my hands on the information I need. Remove clutter and at least once a year, go through everything in your desk and throw away the things that are taking up space. Because most offices rely on computers, you can keep almost everything electronically. This will eliminate waste and the piles of files.
3. Eliminate time-wasters. Honestly, I can spend way too much time looking at videos or Facebook. Set aside specific times or reasons for going to the internet. People can actually be the biggest time-wasters. If someone is in your office too long, excuse yourself or stand up. Usually the other person will get the hint. Evaluate: How much time do I spend watching television? How much time do I spend on the computer? Am I reading things that are good for the soul or mind-wasting gossip?
4. Allow margin for interruptions. Let’s face it. Interruptions happen. Sometimes they are critical. Knock out the most important tasks as early as you can during the day so if you’re faced with the unexpected, you’ll have some margin later.
5. Most people are more productive in the morning. Do you need to think through a major project or need to be creative? I’m a morning person and it’s the best time for me to really use my brain at its peak. I know I’m a little sluggish in the afternoon, so I avoid writing and creating projects during that time.
6. Avoid procrastination. I’m a master at procrastinating. If I have a deadline, it’s not unusual to wait until the last minute to complete the task. But when I don’t procrastinate, I often find my work is better. (and I have more time to make revisions at the last minute and not create at the last minute)
7. Keep your calendar up-to-date. I love that my calendar is on my computer and on my phone and they are synced together. (as well as emails, contacts and other important notes) As soon as I get a meeting request, I check my calendar and immediately put it where I won’t forget. I also make important notes regarding the appointment such as contact numbers, addresses or the purpose of the event.
8. Learn how to say “no.” I’m so guilty of this one that typing it out is almost painful. I don’t like to disappoint. But, there are times when I must say “no” so I can say “yes” to God’s best. For instance, next year is my daughter’s senior year of high school. I know my calendar is already full of work responsibilities. But, I will have to say “no” to the optional activities in my life. I don’t want to fill my calendar to the point of missing a special occasion in her life.
9. Allow the Lord to guide your steps. I love Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” Even my most thought-out days are always better when I allow the Lord to guide the day. More importantly, it’s a good reminder that I’m not in control and to think that I am is an idol in my life.
How are you successful with your time? I’d love to hear your secrets. Comments welcomed!