Win Today with Christopher Cook

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How to Finally Make the Most of Your Time

time management isn’t about what you can’t do; it’s about prioritizing what you should do. And to that, effective time management harnesses your focus, ability, and energy to do what matters most for those who matter most.

When I deployed my 2015 Mid-Year Reader Survey, I wasn’t quite prepared for the incredibly poignant responses from all of you. At the top of the list was a subject I admittedly overlooked as it pertains to your priorities: time management.

As I spent time thinking about my own methods of effective time management and how they relate to personal growth, I realized that at its core, time management isn’t about what you can’t do; it’s about prioritizing what you should do. And to that, effective time management harnesses your focus, ability, and energy to do what matters most for those who matter most.

The Big Myth

It’s obvious that some people manage to accomplish more than others. Not only do they get more done, they execute with greater excellence. As ridiculous as it sounds, you’d think those people have an eighth day of the week or live on 30 minutes of sleep each night, but obviously, that’s not true.

All of us have the same amount of time each day in which to be productive and focused: 24 hours per day, seven days per week. So what’s the secret sauce of highly effective achievers? I believe it starts with the right mindset. For me at least, I look through the lens of investing time versus spending time. Doing so helps me eliminate superfluous tasks; tasks that can easily be pushed to a later date and tasks that might not yield a great return in my life.

Time out.

For those of you who are parents of small children, you probably hate me right now, thinking, Chris, it’s not all neat and tidy. You just wait and see what happens to time management when small humans are insistent upon their needs being met immediately.

You’re right about that.

But give me grace and allow me to indulge in a few ideas, because I came prepared. This afternoon, I messaged a close friend who is a rockstar nanny in her own right (seriously…a professional). Along with some great tips (which I will share later), she said something that stopped me cold in my tracks: “Don’t confuse time management for perfection. Time management is a moving tool to help you in real time, not a distant ‘high up’ goal to achieve by climbing and ‘trying.” There is no ‘trying’ in time management. There is only learning how to use it.”

Boom.

So therein is what I believe is the first secret of time management: developing your rhythm. In my opinion, time management is a science, but it’s also an art; an art that you will develop and perfect as you employ the strategies I’m about to share and adjust them according to your personality and demands.

Time Management 101

Time management, as my friend stated, is about learning how to use it. And learning takes place when you pause and ask yourself what matters most in life…this month…this week…today. That’s the second key to effective time management. Unless you do, you will lack precision in scheduling and won’t really know what your primary goals are. Just like a road trip, it’s better to plan your course before you put the car in drive instead of making time-consuming course corrections along the way.

The third key ties into the second key, and that is that you need to get perspective on the big picture. The best illustration I have ever heard on this topic is from Stephen Covey’s acclaimed book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Watch this:

The fourth key to effective time management rebounds off of Dr. Covey’s Big Rocks First illustration, and that is that you need to schedule your daily, weekly, and monthly life as much as possible. Good intentions without good actions are rarely fulfilled, and that is precisely why that which you don’t schedule usually won’t get done. Moreover, eliminate multitasking. It’s my opinion (and also that of recent research) that multitasking is counterproductive and actually reduces your overall output by up to 40%.

The fifth key to managing your time may sound silly, but you need to factor in adequate time for rest and play. While resting, your brain regenerates new, healthy cells that enable you to think clearly and problem-solve effectively when the heat is on.

Time Management Tips for Parents

As for time management around a household full of children, my friend suggests that you “rotate the objects of time management.” This week, for instance, “determine that the house needs a deep cleaning, so amongst work and kids’ school and chauffeuring and grocery shopping and preparing meals and after-school sports (pause to come up for air), dedicate a set amount of time to the task at hand each day.” She continued, “Do not, I repeat, do not surpass that allotted time. The world will not stop spinning. And your kids will thank you (not verbally, of course) for your self-control, because that means you won’t be a run-down and worn-out monster by dinnertime.”

Time Management from God’s Perspective

Time management isn’t simply about efficiency; it’s about excellence. Psalm 90:12 echoes this passion: “So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” You see, “numbering your days” is an act of intentionality. In doing so, the return is a heart of wisdom. And a heart of wisdom provides for you the knowledge and understanding about which investments of your time will yield the greatest return in your life and in the lives of those closest to you.

Go get it!

Yes3DFREE BONUS: Just because I think you’re awesome, I want to give you my Decision-Making Guide Map absolutely FREE. Simply click on the download button below and watch your email inbox for the free guide! The next time you have an important decision to make, print this out, answer the questions, fill-in the blanks, then say “hello” to clarity!

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