Why I suck at time management and what I'm doing about it

This morning I am extra grateful for the very dark coffee I am enjoying at my desk.

I’ve found myself dozing off a few times and I’ve been here twenty minutes.

While the rest of my team members roll in one by one, looking like they would rather be punched than be awake at 930am, I smirk with a little envy at what their morning must look like each day.

Do you ever just sit back and wonder how you are even functioning?

I never used to be a morning person, and frankly I’m still not.  But once you become a Mother you start to realize that if you want to show up somewhat presentable for the day (or show up at all), then you must wake up four hours prior to when you need leave your house in order to get yourself and your household ready.

Needless to say I’m tired.

Most mornings I wake up debating whether a shower is worth the time or not.

Time has become precious.  Everything in my life as a Mom (and working Mom at that) is timed. 

I dream in time.  I talk in time. I think in time.

But when I really sit back and think about why I am so tired and why I seem to always be limited in time it really boils down to one thing…time management!

See what this is exactly is the ability to use your time wisely.  And when you are a Mother, you must learn to get time on your side, whenever and however possible.

The very thing that I preach to my team members at work is the very thing that seems to hold me hostage daily. 

How is it that I seem to have become that annoying Mom who is always busy?

That friend who never has time to call people back?

The employee who works through lunch because who has time to stop and eat?

This past Sunday our pastor spoke about putting time on our calendars to rest. 

I have to be honest, my initial thought was “who has time to do that?”

As I sit here and reflect on that message, I realize that is the problem.

And as it often seems is the case, this particular sermon has spoken directly into my life and has forced me to take a good hard look at why time has some type of rule over my days here.

Well here they are…

 

The five ways I have let time take control and what I’m doing about it

 

1)     It seems nearly impossible for me to say NO. I’m going to say this has probably always been a trend in my life.  Not that saying no in general is hard for me to do.  But rather that I do in fact convince myself I can and must do everything that is thrown my way.  Yes I will be the room parent, yes I will sign up to bake pies for the company party, yes I will lead that online group, yes I will commit to the weekly church group, and so on.     

To be clear I am not one of those people who feels bad for saying no.  If I truly don’t want to do something you will know (just ask my husband).  What is more of the issue is the feeling of missing out.  I view opportunities as a sign that I should just accept them all and this has gotten me in trouble.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”  It’s not always my season and that’s ok.  I am going to practice saying no.

 

2)     I have never scheduled time to rest.  As mentioned above, this concept almost seems foreign to me.  Why and how do you actually schedule rest?  But the more I think about it the more I love this idea.  It actually sounds pretty awesome to write in my calendar “rest”.  In fact once upon a time (and still in many cultures) resting on specific days is the law.  I will now make rest a priority

 

3)       I am not great at planning ahead.  I often under estimate the amount of time tasks take.  I should know by now that an hour in the morning is not enough time to shower, dry my hair, make my son’s lunch, make my own lunch, get my son dressed, get myself dressed, and get us all out the door.  And this doesn’t even take into account the unexpected disasters or child meltdowns that will take place.  Thus, I need to prepare the best I can for the next day or next activity.  I imagine this will help our household run a little smoother!

 

4)     I only write down the important things.  How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you just can’t remember that thing you know is happening because you didn’t write it down?! I don’t know if it is laziness or that I don’t have a pen handy, but for whatever reason there seems to be one or two activities that slip my mind that I end up missing or being late for because I didn’t take this simple step.  As much as I’d like to think my brain is it’s own calendar, I just have too many things going on up there and I need constant reminders.  Too, the actual act of writing everything down helps me to remember!

 

5)     Prioritizing in my personal life is not my strong suite.  Part of my job is working with my team to work off a task-oriented schedule.  I am great at coaching others on this but not so great at putting it to practice when it comes to my own commitments.  Dave Ramsey, a financial guru that has built an empire out of coaching others to be debt-free, told a story about his above the line and below the line creditors.  Using this system, he figured out how much money he had and split up his debts according to their priority.  Above the line were things like food, shelter, and basic needs.  Maybe a few others.  Below the line included a few things like eating out, coffee runs, an un-needed car payment, and some other creditors that would just have to wait.  He paid the above the line items first and if there was anything left over he paid the below the line items.  This is much like prioritizing your time.  If you don’t prioritize your above the line items (family, God, relationships, work) you’ll get stuck spending too much time on below the line items (excessive activities, excessive work, hobbies, etc).  I look forward to being able to put more of my time into my priority line items!

We live in a society where busyness drives many of our lives and the need to constantly keep up is ever-present.

Today I am making a vow to live a less hurried life and to seek a healthier balance with my time.

Will you join me?