Tracking Time and Taking Inventory

Time and money both have actual and perceived values, but this concept is more obvious with time than it is with money, so let’s address it now:

Every day has the same 24 hours in it, yet some days we say things like, “time just flew by,” or, “each minute was excruciatingly long.” If our perception is that our days are “just too short,” the amount of time we have won’t matter–it will never be enough. This goes back to our basic biblical principle, “as a man thinketh, so is he.”

Tracking down how much time we actually spend on specific activities will show us how much time we realistically have or don’t have. This will prove very helpful as we seek to handle this commodity God’s way.

Your assignment is as follows: track how you spend every minute of every day for 30 days.

There are different ways you can track your time: you can download a phone app, or buy a daily planner to keep an accurate record of your everyday activities. My recommendation is to use the very simple time log created by Laura Vanderkam, 168 hours Time Management Worksheet.  Print it out and keep it with you. If you spend 20 minutes on Facebook, log it. If you read online for 30 minutes, log it. If you went for a walk, log it. If you talked to your neighbor, log it. Do this for one month. Just 30 days.

Measuring how you spend your time is going to grant you the same amazing benefits as tracking your money does:

  • You will find time where there wasn’t any before just by the very act of recording your activities.
  • You will start to uncover patterns: maybe you thought you played solitaire for only ten minutes, but you are now noticing that it’s closer to one hour a day; or maybe you never realized how much time you spend perusing websites, or Facebook, or reading magazines, or running errands.
  • The discipline of tracking will cause you to focus on your time management, and what you focus on grows. By giving your brain specific data about your daily activities, you give it the raw materials necessary to find new solutions to your time issues and it will begin to figure out how to reorganize your time so that we can make the most of it (Ephesians 5:16). The simple act of documenting what we do with every minute of the day makes us accountable at a new level.

        When training for my marathon, I could not figure out where to find the time to train almost every day. Yet because it became my focus, my brain rearranged a few things and found spots in my day to make it happen.

 

We are a group of women who are learning to OWN OUR LIVES with Joy! Right now, we are working on handling our finances and time in a godly way. You are very welcome to join us if you wish!

What We Focus On Grows

As we continue our journey towards financial freedom, here is a short story that illustrates this principle: what we focus on grows.

When my children were little, two of them got poison ivy at the same time. One of them decided to ignore the poison ivy because he was just too busy enjoying his summer to give it his attention. He had places to go, people to see, a life to live. The poison ivy ran its course on his skin, and within 10 days or so his body got rid of it.

My daughter, however, chose to focus on the ivy: how ugly the rash was on her skin, the itchiness, the way there were bubbles on her arms. She cried over it, touched it, looked at it, scratched it, babied it, talked about it… she focused on it with every waking moment. It became her very life.

We eventually had to take her to the ER because a secondary infection developed on her skin–all because she would not leave the little rash alone.

This is a negative example, yet it illustrates so well the fact that what we focus on grows.   

The data gathered as we track our spending gives our brain something to work with. And our brain is amazing: once we feed it the numbers–and the issues that the numbers reveal–it begins to work at finding a way to make it all work for us.

As my husband and I worked towards our own financial independence, the closer we got to the one million dollar mark, the harder our brains worked to make it happen. We discovered ways to save and invest that we had never considered before!

 

We are a group of women who are learning to OWN OUR LIVES with Joy! Right now, we are working on handling our finances and time in a godly way. You are very welcome to join us if you wish!