For the last five years of watching the Jason Garrett era as the Dallas Cowboys, I have noticed a trend. He and his teams are not good managers of the clock. With less than two minutes to go in a tie game last night, Garrett's team mismanaged the clock again. As one sports analyst I heard today said, they took it from a smooth ending to "heart attack" mode. Fortunately, last night, it didn't cost my favorite team the game. At other times, it has costed them the game.
Poor Clock or Time Management can cost us dearly in life. It can cost us credibility, rest, relationships and sanity. Poor Time Management adds unneeded stress because of poor choices we make. So, How do we better manage our clock?
1. Plan - There's an old adage that says "If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail." If we don't plan our time, someone else will. It starts with a calendar. Schedule your work time. Write down the things that are regular occurrences into your calendar. For example, if you have a regular staff meeting, place that on your calendar. Schedule your family time. Schedule your time of rest. Schedule your devotional time. Schedule your recreation time. You can use a digital calendar or an old fashioned paper calendar. I prefer the digital calendar. It is on my iPhone. I can access it from my iPad or computer. If I updated it on one device, it changes it on all of them. My wife uses a paper calendar that she carries around in her purse.
2. Keep a To Do List - This has been a huge time saver for me. If I don't write it down, I will forget. If someone asks me to do something on a Sunday, I immediately write it down. If I don't, I will forget until they remind me or I'll waste time trying to remember what they asked me to do. I use the Reminders app included on the iPhone. Again, it syncs with all my devices. I even have mine color coded so I know whether it is a personal task or work related task. It is important to put the tasks that you have to do every week on your list. When you do that, it will give you a list to work from and you won't waste time thinking of what to do next.
3. Limit the Distractions - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are great tools, but can be incredible time wasters. I've had to delete a game or two from my devices when I realized I was spending too much time crushing candy and not enough time focused on important tasks. If you need a social media or game break, put it on your calendar and stick to the time you allotted for it.
4. Don't Procrastinate - Interruptions are going to happen. The boss will call a surprise staff meeting. Kids will get sick causing you to miss time from work. In my line of work, divine interruptions happen all the time. Someone needs to meet about a family problem. Another unexpectedly goes into the hospital. If I have procrastinated, those interruptions can become irritants and I'm not at my best for the people I serve. If I have worked ahead, I can handle the moment with the grace, love and focus it needs.
Time Management can be the difference between being a good and great. How well are you managing your clock?