Time to Ignore the Hourglass
Do you always feel pressed for time? If so, you are certainly not alone. Last October, millions of Americans participated in the first annual “Take Back Your Time Day,” a project of the Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy at Cornell University. The idea arose as a way to make the public aware of the “epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine” in our society.
Lack of time can be detrimental to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. When we are pressed for time, we tend to exercise less, eat foods for their convenience rather than their nutritional value, have less time to interact with our families and friends, and spend little, if any time, on self-development and spiritual growth.
Here are some simple ways you can begin to take back some of your time:
Set aside a certain amount of time each day just to do what you want to do. How about 1 hour each day? If that’s not “possible,” start with smaller increments of time, say 15 minutes, and work your way up.
Doing part of something is better than doing nothing. Even if you can’t complete a task or a project, it is better to take a small “chunk” out of it rather than letting the whole thing slide until later. If you absolutely “hate” working in that manner, then just make sure you set aside a specific time to complete the entire task or project.
Learn to say “No.” This isn’t always easy, but it can make a world of difference. Even if you don’t want to say “No” completely, try to set limits around how much you will do and when.
Bundle your tasks. Save up non-urgent errands so that you can do those that are logistically close to one another.
Delegate. How much is your time worth? It may be worth the cost of hiring someone to do things like mow your lawn, clean your house, AND you will be purchasing the precious commodity of time. It’s more than okay to ask for help.
Do the yucky stuff first. Take care of the tasks that you dislike so that you don’t waste precious mental time ruminating about not having done them!
Are the things you feel you “have” to do really necessary? It can be easy to get caught up in the details to the detriment of the big picture.
Take an honest look at the activities and people in your life that are “energy drainers.” Do they need to be part of your life? What would happen if you eliminated or reduced your time spent on/with them?
And, most importantly, set aside time each week to do something special. Make sure that, no matter how busy you are, you take time to play. Spending time with friends, outdoors, at the movies, whatever makes you happy, is essential in helping you be the most focused and effective you can be with your time.