This isn’t the regular quick fix to poor time management; this is the solution to the root cause of poor time-management
Maybe you belong to a category of people who start the day feeling positive but end it feeling negative because of their poor time management. You might instead be a part of the optimistic “goal-setters” who never evolve into go-getters because of a lack of time or motivation.
Anybody can set a goal but not everybody can achieve it. Anybody can be a “goal-setter’ but not everyone would be a go-getter.
Have you ever looked at some people and wondered why they are outstanding and how they keep producing results at an amazing rate? They just seem to keep making waves. These ‘outstanding’ people make it seem like they have a lot more than 24 hours in their day. Do they?
Both the productive and unproductive sets of people have 24hrs in a day but what makes the difference?
Maybe your question is this: what makes 24 hrs look like a lot of time at the start of the day but then at the end, so inadequate?…
… In this present age, where there’s an information surge and everything seems to be urgently important, it’s as easy as pie to lose focus on things that really matter and get carried away with the ‘minor’ activities that are trivial or can be delayed. Activities like reading through your emails, chatting physically or virtually, scrolling through your gallery of pictures, reading the latest news articles, making a ‘quick’ Snapchat video, replying to DMs on Instagram, gossiping on blogs, throwing bants on social media, playing video games, and the list goes on and on.
These ‘minor’ activities are subtle time-wasters. They seem very insignificant but they are what coalesce into blocks of unproductive hours!
“So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 [NLT]
HOW ‘MINOR’ ACTIVITIES SUBTLY STEAL YOUR TIME
Imagine a scenario where you are reading a book online or you are doing something productive that moves you closer to your daily or weekly goal: your body and mind are already in a work mode. Suddenly, something (a hot gist, probably) pops up on your phone’s screen and you decide to ‘quickly’ spend 10 minutes to read through.
“Shebi it’s Just 10 minutes“, you whisper to yourself
On getting to the page, the replies in the comment section got hotter and you couldn’t help but show your argumentative skills and intelligence and as a result, you got carried away. The heat in the comment section wanes and then it dawns on you that you’ve wasted 30 minutes!! Three times of what you intended to spend!! Then unfortunately, you find it hard to concentrate. Instead of making an effort to get back your focus, you decide to check your status views on Whatsapp, your messages start rolling in and you just can’t resist the gist. The distractions increase and you keep descending down a slide of unproductive hours. At the end of the day, you either feel bad at your unproductivity or you comfort yourself with ‘I cannot kill myself’. For some people, descending down a slide of unproductive hours can start with a 3- minute video on YouTube or saying Hi to a friend…
The truth is, there are a lot of things calling for our attention and as humans, we have a high tendency to waste time on things that are enjoyable and convenient; we don’t like stress. Unfortunately, you see, there’s no STRETCH without STRESS
“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”
One of the best and proven ways to make the best use of your time is to see it as a 10 or 60 minutes block and you let every block count!!!
If you keep viewing your time as a huge block–days, weeks, months, you will never take your goals seriously because your mind would be rooted in the thought of there’s still time
No matter how good or talented you are, if you don’t stay committed to the little goals and steps that make you better; you might never reach your full potential! And if you keep mismanaging YOUR TIME; the same way a father won’t give an estate to a son who hasn’t properly managed a single building is the same way God won’t trust you with greater things if you don’t stay committed to yourself and to the ‘little’ things He has placed in your hands. I know God’s grace has been made much available in Christ Jesus and God knows that His children can be imperfect but if you don’t make an attempt to be better at staying committed to little things, God won’t trust you with larger things. Jesus, while speaking in Luke 16:10, said “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” [NLT]
…Don’t feel bad if you haven’t been making the best use of your time. There’s always a chance for a change and your CHANGE can be now. As long as you are willing.
Below are some practical and proven tips for effective time-management.
1. Have a purposeful why
No matter how big and beautiful your goals are; if you don’t have a purposeful reason behind them, you might never manage your time effectively enough in order to achieve them. You should set goals on areas that you want to improve on, that move you closer to where you desire to be. You shouldn’t set goals because you read a motivational piece on setting goals(which isn’t bad in itself) or because friends have to-do lists and people are setting goals. It’s the reason and conviction you have about your goals, not the beauty or popularity of the goals that make you want to MANAGE YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY in order to achieve these goals.
2. Know the value of time
If you do not know the value of something, you cannot manage and make the best use of it. In case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you that you can never witness the same time and date at which you are reading this article no matter how old you live on this earth. That’s how valuable time is. So why waste it?
3. Plan ahead
If you don’t plan your day and time, it’s easy to get caught in the web of unimportant activities and have this false sense of being busy. Guess what? ‘Busyness’ without effectiveness is nothing! People who don’t plan don’t execute! They are always in the autopilot mode. They tend to say YES to every activity, even opportunity offered to them, they don’t when to say NO because they aren’t working with a standard.
Everybody can be busy but not everybody can be productive.
Take your time to plan the goals you’d love to achieve the next day and write them out! Plan the clothes you’d wear, the food you’d cook/eat, the meetings you’d attend; just plan for the known things you have to do and have control over.
Always create space for unseen contingencies so that you won’t be discouraged at their appearances. It’s good to stretch and set big goals but please (I’m on my knees) be realistic.
“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.”
So, think ahead, plan ahead, act ahead and you’ll be ahead!
When setting goals, you should be realistic and time-bound. Set deadlines and create pressure around your goals. A goal without a deadline can’t be achieved because you’d be locked up in the idea of ‘there’s still time’.
4. Crack your goals
The smaller the size of the meat; the easier it is to swallow. Discouragement and poor time management occur when the mountain looks too big to surmount.
Goals are easily achieved when they are broken into reasonable bits and pieces; it makes them desirable and achievable. Let’s assume that you really don’t love reading and/or you have a busy schedule and you need to read a book of 40 chapters. The tendency of procrastinating would be high if you make up your mind to read the book in one sitting. But if you decide to read a chapter per day, the goal looks pretty easier, and as a result of this, you achieve the BIGGER GOAL by taking these baby steps every day.
It’s also advisable that you plan your goals weekly in order to ‘work’ with a bigger picture, make everyday count and not work on autopilot as stated in number 3 above.
5. Focus on one task at a time
“You get more results by doing less; focus on what’s important.”
Multitasking activities that need your full attention would surely lead to poor time management!
A student preparing for a promotional exam and at the same time responding to emails and business calls would never fully process the necessary information for the exam. At the end of the day, the student might need to retake the exam or re-processes the material which is a total waste of time!
6. Remove all distractions Any factor–including the people factor–that constantly shifts your focus from your goals and makes you waste time and/or do things that aren’t important is a DISTRACTION and you should avoid these factors or limit your availability to them as much as possible. Uninstall the social media apps and video games, block your access to some websites, switch off your phone when necessary, detach from some certain people. No matter how much you love some things or a group of people, if they constantly make you lose your focus, you should take the bold but wise step of curtailing your availability to your relationship with them because at the end of the day, people would go, friends would separate(not necessarily for bad reasons), trends would be forgotten or be changed but guess who’d remain with you forever? You and your decisions! Permit me to remind you that how you make use of your time is a key component of your decision making. On the other hand, if what distracts you the most is the social media–you’re addicted to your Instagram feeds, Facebook likes, Whatsapp gossip groups, Snapchat filters or whatever it is that gets you carried away– you should uninstall the apps for a while or take them off your sight by restricting your access to them and this can be done by keeping your gadgets away from you. You could also limit social media usage by:
•Placing the social media icons on a different page from other icons
• Blocking all notifications
• Setting an alarm for the time you intend to spend on social media and sticking to it. It’s so easy to get carried away when there’s no reminder.
Hitting the Pause Button on Social Media is crucial for your growth
7. Explore technology Little things like trying to remember to-do lists are what subtly wastes time. Technology was made to make our lives easier, we shouldn’t ignore this great tool and make our lives harder. It’s important to develop the habits of delegating tasks to some technological products. Tasks like events to be attended, things to be done, calls to be made, books to be read, things to be bought and anything that doesn’t need the human mind should be delegated to technology. If you keep trying to store every information or things to be done, in your head, you won’t be able to totally focus on things at hand because your mind would constantly race towards the undone things which haven’t been put down. The shocking truth is that you can’t remember everything (especially in urgent situations) and as a result, you would get tired, discouraged, and waste time in the bid to recollect the things needed to be done. You might even get less efficient along the way if you keep forgetting these little things. I personally use ‘Keep Notes’ _ which is available for download on playstore_ to plan, write down thoughts, schedule activities and set reminders. There are numerous technological tools.
You can also make your goals your phone’s wallpaper which would serve as a constant reminder. You could also write your goals out and place them where you can easily see them
8. Prioritize Effective time management doesn’t suggest that you shouldn’t ‘flex’, hang out with friends or do what you love but commitment should come before enjoyment. Work before fun. Hard goals before soft goals.
9. Have accountability partners: The importance of good relationships comes to play here–your friends or family should be able to hold you accountable and you should also be submissive and disciplined enough to be held accountable.
“One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is normal behavior.” James Clear
“If you’re going to keep your oxygen levels up—you need a break every now and then. It’s not a break from your life; it’s a break for your life.”Priscilla Shirer
The lower your focus level when performing a task, the longer time it takes to complete that task. You should be deliberate about taking breaks in order to increase your energy and focus level. You should also be intentional about the foods you eat. Avoid junk foods as much as you can and drink more water. Exercise as often as possible. If you don’t fuel your body properly, it won’t give you what you need. Sharpen your saw!
11. Reward yourself anytime you are able to manage your time properly and achieve certain goals. Note this though, you shouldn’t reward yourself with things that would cause setbacks or neutralize your efforts.
12. Learn to say NO! You can’t help everybody. You can’t please everybody. You can’t be available to everybody. It’s great to help (“He who serves is the greatest” —Mark 11:43) but in the bid to help, be careful not to say Yes to things that you won’t be committed to or things that would bring stress to your life and most importantly, things that aren’t congruent with your Values
13. Be disciplined You shouldn’t manage your time and achieve your goals when you feel like. You should be willing to stay committed to your goals whether you feel like or not!
One of the best and proven ways to make the best use of your time is to see it as a 10 or 60 minutes block and you let every block count!!!
If you keep viewing your time as a huge block–days, weeks, months_ you will never take your goals seriously because your mind would be rooted in the thought of there’s still time
Time management is very crucial:
• It makes you wiser:”Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
• It makes you wealthier”Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table.”
• It boosts happiness:”A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul” Proverbs 13:19
• It boosts self-esteem and confidence
The more you manage your time and stay committed to your goals, the more you trust yourself and this makes you want to set more goals, go further, and get better!
“The future you want is created by the things you do today”
The future you desire doesn’t jump on you tomorrow. It doesn’t come by setting beautiful goals or dreaming bigger dreams. The future you desire comes from effective planning and execution! It’s the little things that you do today that counts tomorrow! How you spend today would surely reflect in your tomorrow.
You are how you use your time. How you spend your time is the reflection of what you really believe in and value. So my questions are WHAT ARE YOUR DEEPEST VALUES? WHAT DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN?
What are the things burning in your heart that you want to achieve? What are the changes you want to make in your life? Where do you see yourself in a few years to come? Do you want to live a fair, better, or the best life?
You should make the best use of your time and set goals that are in alignment with the answers to these questions; they don’t come to pass by wishing! Make the best use of your time now so that you won’t get angry at your past in the future. Your time is a hard currency. Watch how you spend it, what you invest it in, and who you spend it on –Invest properly!
Life is short and nobody knows tomorrow. You should make the best use of today in order to have a better tomorrow!
You deserve the best YOU. You deserve your desired future. So make everything count now! You might slip into old habits of poor time management but as long as you are willing to get better at it, you would get better and stronger.
Please do something for me, don’t start managing your time tomorrow, the best time to start is now. This moment counts. And don’t make the mistake of becoming complacent and/or stopping what you do when you start getting things right, you should aspire to keep soaring. Success comes from repetition.
Remember to put all you’ve learnt to action because KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT USAGE IS GARBAGE!
Thanks for reading (and sharing), I remain your friend,
Ps: If you are really struggling with time management and you’ve put most of the suggestions above to action and yet you notice no change, scrutinize the situation properly and PRAY! Please do, God is willing to help. He would show you things that you aren’t seeing that makes you waste your time
All image belongs to pexels