YOU often hear folks say there are not enough hours in the day. Yet some people can barely get to work on time when others like single moms work full-time jobs, make meals for the kids and pursue a college degree on the side. Now that’s a Super Mom! But they do it because they know what’s important and they prioritize. They have the same number of hours in a day to work with just like you. Yet they squeeze every bit of those 24 hours for what they’re worth and they accomplish amazing things. They can do this because their activities align with their values and priorities. When you attain that point in life, amazing things start to happen and you accomplish things with your time that you never thought possible. So let’s talk about how you can get to that point of maximum return.
First, you need to understand that there are five basic areas everyone’s life can be divided into: Family, Worship, Work, Play and Me. Family of course are those people closest to you either by blood or choice. Worship is whatever belief system you adhere to. Work is that thing you do to support yourself in this world. Play is that thing you do to unwind, either alone or with others. And Me takes in all those things that feed yourself. That includes eating, exercise, personal improvement, alone time, etc.
Everything you do falls into these five categories. Please take a moment to take out a sheet of paper and list these five things. Study the list for a moment then place the number ‘1’ next to the thing most important to you. Then examine the remaining items and put a ‘2’ next to the second most important thing. Continue numbering the items until all five are prioritized.
Now lean back and think about what you just said about your life. How you prioritize these things speaks to who you are and what you believe in your heart. They are your core values. When you live your life by your values, and you never compromise these, then making decisions about how you will spend your time becomes much easier. Things that contribute to your values get done and those things that run against your values get left out.
For example, if Worship is at the top of your list, then you will not allow anything else to interfere with the time you have set aside for it. And the decisions you make in all the other areas will always be preceded by considering how it will impact your spiritual life. If Family precedes work, then you will schedule definite times to spend with your family strengthening the bonds between you. During that time you will not keep checking your phone for emails, tweets or texts.
Values are the non-negotiables that your life revolves around. Once you set these in stone, make a firm decision to live your life accordingly. So whenever you have to decide to take on a certain task, or schedule time for a certain activity, first ask yourself: Where does it fall in importance in relation to my values? Once you know where it falls, don’t allow your values to be compromised by going against them. Plan your finite hours in harmony with those important things. And cross out those things that don’t fit in with your stated values.
The next key to taming the time monster is setting priorities. The following article in this series will deal with figuring out how to prioritize your day so the stuff that aligns with your values gets done and the stuff that doesn’t gets pushed aside.