I admit that I sometimes struggle with my time management. Whether it is focusing on a “to do,” figuring out what “to do”s need to happen, or even just getting started, figuring it out can even be daunting these days. There are many distractions and things that can pull us away. However, how we spend our time shows what our priorities are.
Of course, we all have the requisite work requirements to pay the bills and support households. Once we are home or have left work, the time that we have is precious and it is important to use that time on the things that we value and prioritize. It is important to figure out what is important to you and then to figure out how to demonstrate those priorities with your time.
Steps to prioritizing your time
- Make a list of what matters most to you. (ex. family, travel, fitness)
- Consider the “must do” aspects of your life (ex. chores, commitments, work) make a list of these activities as well.
- Now, look at each of these “must do” activities. Which of your priorities is it tied to, if any? Is it family? Events? Travel? Charity? If these commitments are not tied to your priorities, ask yourself if it is something you want to continue with or not.
- Next, look at the optional things that you do because you want to do them. Make a list of these things as well.
- Look at the optional activities in terms of your priorities. Do these priorities and activities line up as well? If not, ask yourself the same questions about continuing with them or not.
- Finally, make an effort to re-examine your activities and commitments periodically to make sure that your time and priorities are aligned.
Time is precious and finite. Consider your time and energy like a pie (perhaps the one pictured at the top of the article). For everything that you give time to, you must take away from something else. If you want to give a bigger piece of yourself to your family, another aspect will have to get a smaller piece. If you continue to act as if you, your time, and energy are unlimited, eventually that pie won’t exist anymore or the pieces will be so small that no one will be happy, yourself included.
Sure, it is hard to take a look at where we are putting our time and energy, especially when we realize that where those are going isn’t where we’d like them to be directed. It can be a rude awakening. However, don’t think of it as a failure on your part or failing at all. We all get distracted and can lose track of the things we value the most. This is just a small exercise to help you get yourself back on track.