4 STEPS TO Redeeming Time

NOTE: I wrote this article a couple of months ago before the global pandemic.    Time has become very weird.  We are with our families 24/7.  There is so much beauty in the chaos.  However, this ‘forced global sabbatical’ (as a friend of mine put it) has left a lot of us folks trying to figure out how to best use our time.  Hopefully, in this blog article you can find a nugget or two. Stay safe! Blessings!
Someone years ago said to me, as I arrived late to a lunch meeting, “Hey Scott, you will be late to your own funeral.”  He was trying to be humorous and humor has a way of exposing truth.   Do you, like me, struggle with time?  
What’s underneath the surface of poor time management?  Some of us say yes to practically everything for the fear of missing out.  We don’t want to miss that next meeting, connection, event, or party, so we say YES, which then leaves no margins in our calendar for our spouse, children, friends, health. I am guilty of this.
So, what’s the result? Attempting to do everything leaves us worn out and under delivering on our promises.   While we mean well, we don’t deliver well. I have come to believe that we need a different kind of strategy.  A strategy that requires planning, prioritizing, knowing margins, living in reality, and watching out for time sucks!

Here are 4 steps that I have found helpful to redeeming time.

STEP 1 – Take and accounting of your Personal, Spiritual and Work Demands.   
Personal (marriage, children, friendships, physical health, personal growth)
Spiritual (prayer, meditation, quite walks, yoga, worship)
Work (write out a weekly timeline of your work)
Write out all of activities that make up these 3 areas of your life.  What are you presently doing? Or NOT doing?  Have you made time for your spouse? A date?  Do you have time for your children? Have you spent time with a friend that was not rushed?  Do you exercise regularly? What are you reading or listening to that helps inspire you on a regular basis to grow? Do you bring work home with you?
STEP 2 – Plan your Week (start with the personal)
There are 168 hours a week.  Consider this.  We will spend a 1/3 of the week sleeping.  And another 1/3 working.  Then the last 1/3…  is a big blob of craziness.  So, my suggestion is to plan your week by starting with your personal life.  The reality is you will sleep and you’ll do your work.  There is no doubt that we need to be intentional our sleep and work.
Planning your week by starting with the personal.  When will you work out? Have a date with your spouse? Spend time with your children? Have a happy hour with some friends?  Spend time listening to a podcast and growing in your spiritual journey?

Then build out the rest of your week with work and sleep.

STEP 3 – Prioritizing and Creating Margins.
Everything is important.  We all know this.  This is why we are always running around with our heads cut off.  This is also the reason we ironically miss out on what is actually important.  There is a really good article I read by Jordy Mackay The “Everything is Important” paradox: 7 practical methods for prioritizing work. In this article he outlines a number of ways to better our effectiveness with time!  In this article, Mackay gives simple suggestions for effective prioritization. I will list the bullet points.
1. Capture everything in a master list and then breaking it down by monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
2. Separate the urgent from the important with the Eisenhower Matrix.  
3. Rank your work by its true priority with the Ivy Lee Method
4. Separate tasks with seemingly similar priorities using the ABCDE method
5. Set the tone of the day by “Eating the frog” — “If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for a very long time!”
6. Cut out “good enough” goals with Warren Buffett’s 2-list strategy
7. Be aware of the sunk cost fallacy (i.e. don’t fix a leaky boat. Just switch vessels).
When we take time to examine what is the most important, we have the ability to create margins in our life.  This helps us to be more attentive with others and our work. 
STEP 4 –  Watch out for Time Sucks.
Lastly, very related to Step 4 is being aware of things that distract and suck our time.  When we learn to manage ourselves, we will be better at managing our time.  Here are a few items that have helped me and are still helping me. I am a work in progress.
    1. Turn off notifications.  This changed my life.  I keep notifications off all day with one exception – I keep my children and wife so they can reach me.
    2. Each day set priorities and goals
    3. Don’t procrastinate (Examine why you procrastinate. It is fear?  Is it not interesting enough?  I like to tell myself these throughout my day “Don’t lose a day to fear. Step into fear.” “Don’t ignore the unknown. Lean into the unknown. Learn what you don’t know! ”
    4. Stop multi-tasking
    5. Keep your workspace orderly
    6. Schedule time to engage in social media and stick to it
    7. Check email at specific intervals
    8. Learn to say NO
    9. Get appropriate amounts of sleep
    10. Know your most productive time of day
    11. Become an effective delegator
Being Freed to Lead & Live comes when we are about redeeming our time!

3 thoughts on “4 STEPS TO Redeeming Time

  1. Thank you, Scott. Helpful and practical steps to thinking through my schedule. Starting with your personal time is a helpful and healthy way of approaching the task.


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