Five ways to create more time
“I just wish I had more time.” These were the words I said to a mentor of mine a few years ago. He immediately called me out on that statement. He pointed out to me that it was a limiting belief that I was using as an excuse. He told me to say to myself instead, “I have all the time I need to achieve the things I choose to do.”
The reality is we have plenty of time, but for many of us, we waste it. We spend this limited resource on things of trivial consequence. So I want to suggest to you five ways to create more time to do things of real value and consequence in your life.
1. Conduct a Time Audit
A couple of years ago I read (or I should say, listened to the Audible version of) Peter Drucker’s classic “The Effective Executive.” One of the key takeaways I had from this book was to “Know Thy Time.” He encourages the creation of a “time log”— an exercise in which you record how you spend your time over the course of one week, or a little longer. In this way, you get a realistic picture of what it is you are actually spending your time on. Once you know your time, you can then make informed decisions about how to spend it more wisely. You could use this resource to help you do it.
2. Quit Social Media
According to studies the average person today scrolls through social media for 144 mins/day. That’s over two hours/day. And that’s just the average person, which means that half of us do it more than that. Imagine claiming back two hours every day to do whatever you want. I quit social media over a year ago. Last week I remarked to Rachel that I had been reflecting on how I now have time to do things I had always wanted to in the past, and I realized it was all because I wasn’t stuck on the social scroll. Try it. It doesn’t need to last forever. And you will find other ways to connect with those who really matter. I began reintroducing social media again after 6 months and now spend only a few minutes a week checking it.
3. Steward Your Energy
Time is constant, energy fluctuates. Craig Groeschel asks the question: “What if you are doing the right things, but at the wrong times?” I know that I have twice as much energy in the morning as I have in the afternoon. Some of you might have more energy late in the evening than you have in the morning. Identify those times when you have the most energy, and then plan to do your most energy-sucking tasks at those times. I set aside time in the morning to study and write because I know it takes a lot of energy, but I meet with people in the afternoons, because I know that I gain energy from people. Steward your energy resources by matching up tasks with energy levels.
4. Set a Bedtime Alarm
And if you are a morning person, like me, then here’s a pro tip: set a bedtime alarm. Not an alarm in the morning (although, you’ll need to set that too), but an alarm in the evening. Determine what time you want to wake up in the morning, subtract the number hours you want to sleep, subtract another 30 mins for some wind-down time, and then set an alarm for that time every day. When the alarm goes off, go to bed. Not only can this help you get up early and get more done in the mornings, but it also helps kill what was one of the biggest timewasters for me: evenings sat binge-watching Netflix.
5. Take a Sabbath
One of the greatest lessons I learned during my time in college was to take a Sabbath — one day each week to cease from work, to worship God and enjoy the delightfulness of the world he has created. Taking a Sabbath gives you the energy you need for the rest of the week, and it gives you one day a week to do things that bring you joy. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) I love to go for walks with my family, attend worship together, sit by the fire and read novels, and cook a roast dinner on my Sabbath. Things that I have no time to do the rest of the week, but I have time to do on my Sabbath. And trust me, once you’ve experienced the joy of the Sabbath, you will get all your work done in 6 days so you can experience that weekly burst of joy once again!
I hope these five ways hope you to create more time in your life for important things. This weekend we are going to be talking about investing your resources wisely in a message entitled “Play the Long Game.” I would love to see you tomorrow in person or online.