4 Steps to Being More Intentional With Your Time

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly busy? Your schedule is full and it doesn’t feel like you have any down time? That you’ve committed to so many things that at the end of the day you’re emotionally and physically spent?

I’m going to let you in on a secret. It doesn’t have to be this way.

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau is referring to the focus of our time. Are you filling your time with other people desires or your own? Are you committing to everyone else and in turn not making time for yourself? Where does your time go? What exactly are you busy with?

Let’s figure it out. Set aside about 30 minutes at some point over the next 7 days. Schedule it in your calendar. You’re going to sit down and actually look at where you spend your time.

1. Look at your last few weeks and months however you track them whether that’s a paper calendar, on your phone, Outlook, or another way. Look at your time. How are you spending it?

2, Highlight or write down the things you found to be a great investment of your time. Put those in one column called Want To. These could be things like a night out with your spouse, reading, or making a meal for neighbors or friends. It could even be a night in watching a movie or relaxing. YOU are the only one who knows what a great investment of your time is.

3. Then pick another color or make another column labeled Have To on your paper for obligations you can’t delegate or cancel. These could be a dentist appointment, a parent teacher meeting, or running your kiddos around to a practice or lesson. These may not feel like enjoyable things but they are things either you have to do or those that only you can do.

4. Now, look at what’s left. These are the things that you don’t feel like is a good investment of your time and also things that you don’t need to be the one to do. What are those things? Highlight them in a different color on your paper calendar or write them down in a third column called Don’t Do. Make sure you have them all written down and don’t skip any. These are the items that tend to be other people’s priorities or things that are unnecessary.

Figure out if you can either delegate these things, hire someone to do them, cancel them all together, or change your mindset about them so they become something you believe is a good use of your time. Now from that list of possible solutions, pick 1-3 of those items and actually make moves. That means cancel the dinner with coworkers, or delegate the cleaning to your spouse or kiddos, or hire someone to fix the leaking sink rather than you figuring out how to do it.

It’s time to get your time back. It is the most valuable resource you have and should be treated as such.

The reason why one man is great and another man is living in mediocrity is simply because one understood the value of time while the other did not.

Sunday Adelaide

When I mentioned above you should carve out 30 minute to reflect on your weeks, I meant it. If you are not planning your time intentionally, it will likely be wasted. Schedule the 30 minutes. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and your calendar and get to work.