Is the busyness of life holding you back? It’s surprising how much of success in life comes down to good time management. There are always many, many possible things to do, and many demands on your time. You can’t do everything. You need to make decisions about how to best use your time during each season of life.
There are certainly times for putting out fires or dealing with crises or taking on difficult challenges, but if you are spending most of your time that way you some area of your life is suffering because of it. Maybe you don’t have the availability for the long-range planning or movement toward long-term goals required to make your dream become reality. Or maybe your own development and health or important relationships in your life are feeling neglected.
Everyone needs to be intentional about how they choose to spend their time. Whether it’s personal or you are seeing a pattern in a client time management can be an important factor when moving forward.
6 Steps for Effective Time Management
1. Track how time is currently spent
Start by asking your client to take an inventory of how they spend their time (or do this yourself). For one week, write down how much time was spent on various activities. Create relevant categories: work, sleep, family time, exercise, fun, spiritual practices, screen time, etc. At your next coaching session, you can assess it together. This can be done via journaling at the end of the day, by using an hourly calendar, or by using a free time tracking app like Toggl. If the week tracked was an unusual week, do it again to get a better baseline.
2. Assess time spent for priorities
The bible refers to life as a race, one that requires endurance training and awareness of obstacles (Hebrews 12:1). As followers of Jesus, we all need to keep our family relationships, health, spiritual lives, and ministry work on track so our life pace is sustainable and effective over the long haul. A big part of effective time management is ensuring that we spend it in line with our priorities. The way we choose to spend our time tells us a lot about our priorities. After tracking how time is spent for a week consider these questions:
- Where is your time going?
- What surprises you?
- To what degree does your time spent align with your priorities?
3. Assess time spent for effective time management
Look at the tracked time again, this time looking at what was accomplished. Consider these questions:
- What tasks were most effective toward accomplishing goals?
- What tasks can only you do?
- Which tasks should be delegated?
4. Make adjustments
It’s time to process what changes need to be made. Time management is deeply personal. It’s a matter of choices and priorities. Each individual may make somewhat different choices, depending on their gifts, specific goals, and seasons of life and ministry. How people use their time is up to them, but they should be intentional about using it in ways that are important to them and move them closer toward their long-term goals. Consider these questions:
- What insights did you have regarding how you spend your time?
- How can you maximize the use of your gifts and talents?
- What might need adjusting?
- Who can help free you up to do what only you can do?
As adjustments take shape remember it may take some time to find the right balance. Changes and adjustments are an important part of the process.
5. Be intentional
A key factor in successful time management is keeping goals and priorities in mind. When considering events and tasks, here are some questions to help you consider each “yes” or “no”:
- Is this in alignment with my priorities?
- Does this help me meet my goal?
- Can someone else do this?
6. Be accountable
For many, changes made for effective time management means some major life shifts. It means saying goodbye to old habits and that is never easy. But it is easier done in community. Find a safe and reliable person who can not only ask the hard questions about time management. Here are some questions that should be regularly asked:
- What ways priorities are on display in the way you spend your time?
- How are you using your time effectively toward the accomplishment of your goals?
- What changes need to be made?
Change Management Coaching Tools– With the fast pace of life today, how you manage your time has never been so crucial. Ultimately, it can mean the difference between success and mediocrity, whether in your career or your life outside of work. Imagine the difference that being able to achieve more – with less stress – could make! The Time Management Profile assesses strengths and areas for improvement in the area of time management, the Time Management Skills Builder helps you develop time management skills, and the Time Management Coaching Guide with Storyboard is a powerful tool when coming alongside someone as they grow in effective time management. (All links take you to Bob’s website, loganleadership.com.)