This post is written to link with an online discussion at katemotaung.com on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today I’m posting on Chapter 2: Arrange.
One of my favourite quotes on time management comes from Michael Altshuler- “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”.
If that’s the case, then to be effective, this is a plane I need to learn to fly. It is not easy, but I think it is something I have grown in over the last few years.
One of the biggest challenges for me in this is my work, which I love and choose to prioritise, but which also means that I am away at residential events for the equivalent of 5-6 weeks per year. During those there is very little time even to think about anything else. There are also other incredibly busy periods, and there is no such thing as a regular schedule. Mostly I love the variety and the lack of routine, but it does create challenges and mean that I need to be intentional about fitting other things into my life.
The other challenge is that there are so many things I want to do. I could easily fill my days three times over and the temptation is always to attempt to do too much.
So, what have I learned about time management?
- I have learned that I thrive on being busy. I am motivated by deadlines and, while I will start many tasks, I need accountability and discipline and deadlines to enable me to complete them.
- I have learned that I can’t do everything- no matter how much I want to. Sometimes this means a painful choice between what is good and what is best.
- I have learned that this means I need to plan how I spend my time. Without a plan or a consistent routine, it is too easy to drift aimlessly.
- I have learned that I have to prioritise what is important over what is urgent. One example is spending time with God each day- this time last year my relationship with God was floundering through lack of consistency in doing this and through facing difficult situations and attempting to deal with life by myself. Now I know that time with God, preferably first thing in the morning, is absolutely crucial. It is not always the most pressing task on my to-do list but it is by far the most important.
These lessons have implications for steps I will need to take if I am serious about pursuing my goal of writing:
- I need deadlines- for the moment this means creating a schedule for blog posts and sticking to it. It may mean writing posts in advance and scheduling them when I am going to be busy with work, but if I am going to commit to it this is what I need to do. I need accountability- linking up with this group, making my intentions public and attempting to post twice a week are steps in the right direction on this one.
- I need to accept that for the moment I may not be able to do all I want to do, but I can take small steps towards developing my writing now, and in the future the time I have available may increase. There is no point in waiting until I know I can complete the journey before taking the first step.
- I need to plan time to write- one week this may mean not writing at all; another it may mean writing for an hour each day- but I need to allocate time to ensure it happens.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) so the key is looking to God- seeing time as a gift from him and seeking him for how to use it effectively.