Gaining Control of My Time (Or Losing Control)

Image Goes HereGOAL: BUDGET MY TIME EACH DAY AND EACH WEEK

GOAL SUMMARY:  I want control. Don’t we all? I want to look back at the end of a 24 hour period of time and say, “I spent my day in a way that was productive, useful, and enjoyable.” But so often, I seem to get to the end of the day barely breathing… having the time to reflect back on what I did seems like a dream. Why is that? If I’m doing what’s important to me, and reflecting on my day is important to me, it seems that I should have the ability to “pencil in” reflection at the end of my day, right?

Perhaps the problem. I’m pencilling in the must-do priorities of my life and letting the crisis of the moment take control. There’s nothing wrong with dealing with a crisis, if it is, in fact, a crisis. But I have a feeling that many of the things I rearrange my minutes, hours, and days for each week are probably not quite as important as I make them out to be – important enough to rearrange the things I really want and need to do. I’m not real keen on blocking out every 15 minutes of my day ahead of time, or even after-the-fact. Perhaps that’s the only way to do it. I have a feeling it’s not, though. I want control, but at the same time, I’ve come to realize over the past several years that “being in control” is really not all that great of a place to be in, either. As Psalm 21:31 puts it:

The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
   but the victory belongs to the LORD.

I just read this psalm yesterday in my daily bible reading plan. It sunk home just a few minutes ago as I wrote that all too familiar phrase, “I want control.”

I really don’t. I want God to have control. I want victory that comes through him, not just through my own preparation and execution. At the same time, though, God seems to say, “Here Chet. I’m going to give you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. And every four years I’m going to throw in a bonus day, just for you. Now use them.” So I’m going to try and look at this productivity goal planning sheet as a plan to budget my time, just like I budget my money. There’s only so much to go around, and while there are some “have to’s” that have to be paid for regardless of my desire to pay for them, there are also some “must do’s” that are important to my long term priorities, dreams and goals. Then there are the crises, the situations that pop up, and the things I’d like to do but will just have to squeeze in when I have some spare time.

I guess we’ll see where this goes.

 

GOAL:

Budget my time each day, and each week.

TARGET DATE:

MM/DD/YYYY

TODAY’S DATE:

August 31, 2010

REWARDS FOR ACHIEVEMENT:

  • I will be able to look back at the end of a day / week and say, “that was time well spent.”
  • I will be prepared to say “yes” or “no” to decisions that require my time, because I will be able to see how they fit into the bigger picture.
  • My priorities will take first place in the way I spend my time, and I will be able to measure if I am keeping them there.
  • I will gain the motivation to get up and get moving early in the morning.
  • I will have the support to back up going to bed “on time,” and I will know what “on time” means.
  • I will be able to break the rules every once in a while, knowing that flexibility itself is one of the things I greatly value.

CONSEQUENSES OF NON-ACHIEVEMENT:

  • I will continually be trying to maintain or reclaim control of my time each day.
  • I will succumb to other’s priorities, and forever be trying to please them by getting to their tasks on their schedule (and I cannot do that).
  • I will get worn out, exhausteed, and burned out, even on the things I love.
  • The things I really want to do will never get finished or maintained.
  • I may never really take the time to find out what’s important to me.

AFFIRMATIONS:

  • I have priorities in life. They are important, and need to be done. I recognize that if I don’t do them, they will not get done.
  • I play an important part in the Kingdom of God. God has more than just expectations for me to meet… He has desires for me, things He longs to see me do, and I want to do them.

 

POSSIBLE OBSTACLE

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

ACTION STEPS

MUST-DO DATE
DELEGATED TO

SOLUTION

I will not be prepared when a new day / week rolls around.

  1. Plan ahead for each day, week, month, year, and even blocks of years. Get more specific as the time frame grows smaller, but don’t be afraid to plan out years in advance.
  2. Write it down. In a common place. Don’t make an appointment without (1) evaluating it against my priorities and (2) writing it down.
  1. Find a system to do this type of planning.
  1. xxx
  1. xxx

 

POSSIBLE OBSTACLE

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

ACTION STEPS

MUST-DO DATE
DELEGATED TO

SOLUTION

Something will “come up” that must be dealt with.

  1. Be willing to say “no” and “It will have to wait,” even to the most urgent of crises.
  2. Plan for these events, possibly on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
  1. Practice saying “no” and “let me get back to you.” Make a note of times I do, see hwo they fit into my priorities and goals, and reward myself for keeping my priorities.
  2. Block out time, either specific times of the day, or an amount of time during the day, for unforseen events.
  3. Review each day to see what “changed” my schedule / plans for the day. If it was important enough to be there, plan ahead for it next time, or make room for it in another way. If it wasn’t, make a note, figure out how to say “no” next time, and plan for that.
  1. xxx
  1. xxx

 

POSSIBLE OBSTACLE

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

ACTION STEPS

MUST-DO DATE
DELEGATED TO

SOLUTION

I may not even know what my priorities ARE.

  1. Make a list and keep it in a place that I’ll see on a regular basis.
  2. Block out time for priorities. Even if they are large blocks such as “work” or “play,” they will at least be there.
  1. Make a “top 10” list of priorities. Be willing to change it as I learn more about myself and what’s important to me. Put the list somewhere where I will see it every day.
  2. Continue with the calendar idea, but think about using a different method to track billable time versus planning time.
  1. xxx
  1. xxx

 

POSSIBLE OBSTACLE

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

ACTION STEPS

MUST-DO DATE
DELEGATED TO

SOLUTION

My priorities will change, or I will feel that “I don’t know what my priorities are yet” so I’ll feel like I can’t plan ahead in light of what they might be in __ days / weeks / months.

  1. Start small.
  2. Be willing to adjust. In fact, plan to adjust. Be intentional with pencils and pens, as some things may need to change.
  3. Be willing to back out of something if I identify that it is not what I should be doing.
  1. Start with priorities I know won’t change, such as family, time spent providing for family, spiritual life, etc.
  2. Come up with a system that will work. Talk to some others who seem to manage their time well and see how they do it, and how they got there. Just because it works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for me. However, there will probably be something to learn from their journey.
  1. xxx
  1. xxx

I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to this one, so I’m going to leave some open spots here to revisit later. I’d also love your thoughts…

POSSIBLE OBSTACLE

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

ACTION STEPS

MUST-DO DATE
DELEGATED TO

SOLUTION

It appears to me that a critical portion of this puzzle is looking back at the end of my day and saying, did I do what I was supposed to today? And being willing to see that possibly, I didn’t. But that that is not a bad thing. It may demand change, but not “being right all the time” or getting it all “under control” is not a necessity. In fact, I shouldn’t even expect it. Life will be a continual set of adjustments. But they should be adjustments to the things I see as important, not adjustments just because I am being put under the gun by someone else.

 

 

 

 

 

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