Making Time Means Setting Priorities

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who thought they had enough time – at least at sometimes.  It often feels like it just disappears.  You’re working on something and think it will only take 20 minutes and before you know it, an hour has gone by.  Often it’s just that there are many demands on your time – you have a family, a job, a home, and any number of other responsibilities.  There just does not seem to be enough time in a day to do everything you want to do.  We all have the same amount of time to manage and the bottom line is making priorities that fit your values.

First, a story about time that I really like and which has circulated the Internet.

The Bank Account of Time: Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!!!! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today. (I took the wording from here.)

In the previous blog, Take Time to Plan, I talked some about the importance of making time to plan and schedule things.  This is an important part of the process of setting priorities since we all have limited time – and we need to try to be realistic about what we can accomplish.

The other part of this process is actually figuring out what your priorities are – and this means being aware of what your deep down values are.  We need to align our priorities around the values we hold.  Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Organize and execute around priorities.”

We all have many priorities – you cannot just focus on one thing and ignore everything else.  All the time you spend with family at the expense of your job is not realistic or even desirable!  When you make time to consider your schedule and set some realistic plans, you’re aiming to make the most of the time you have.  You’ll know that where you spend your time is where it’s best spent.

Often this requires that you alter some of your choices and often avoid immediate gratification.  It also means thinking about the long-term and figuring out how to focus on the important things amidst all the demands that seem critical along the way.  There are things that you will need to set aside, as you – or anyone – can do it all!

You’ll need to consider a chunk of time – this very day is too limited and this month is too large – so examine this week.  Don’t over-schedule, this is not about filling every moment with an activity – but about setting aside to work on things that matter to you, to help you reach goals.  You also want to make sure you include yourself in the plans – time for rejuvenation and growth.  Most importantly, you need to make time to do this each week.

As such a complex topic, this is only the tip of the iceberg, yet starting even with this, you can take control of your time and spend it in meaningful ways.  Each week offers you another opportunity to improve and learn more what you need and want from your life.

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