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.
We know that we all have the same 24 hours to work with, yet some days we say things like, “time just flew by,” or, “each minute was excruciatingly long.” We make a clear distinction between real time and relative time.
We may have lots of minutes and hours available to us, but 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.
Once we see where the minutes and the hours go, our brains will begin to figure out how to reorganize our time so that we can make the most of it (Ephesians 5:16).
You will discover the same almost-magical principle at work that we observed with money and food: the simple act of documenting what we do with every minute of the day makes us accountable at a new level.
We 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.
There are different ways you can track your time: you can download a phone app, or buy an inexpensive daily planner to keep an accurate record of your everyday activities, but I recommend using 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.
- 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 will give it the raw materials necessary to find new solutions to your time issues.
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!