Time Management: 5 Tips to Spending Time on What Matters Most

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Time Management—What matters the very most to you in your life?

I was listening to a bi-annual conference for my church today and one of the speakers shared that love is spelled t-i-m-e. He then asked us to ponder: "Where are you dedicating your time?" In other words, what (or who) do you love?

For me, it is relationships with family, including my husband @TroyPattee...

Relationships with my kids...

Relationships with my closest friends...

The challenge many of us face is figuring out how to spend our time on what matters most instead of those things that matter least, as necessary as some of them may be or seem.

When I think about time management and achieving that balance, the immediate thought that comes to my mind is: "I wish I had more hours in a day." But, I was reminded today as I listened to this conference that it's not about having more hours in a day or crossing off every item on your to-do list, but rather focusing on those things that matter most. Things like my family...

I decided to analyze my day and where I had dedicated my time. Here's what I found (based on 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for today only):

  • 3 hours listening to my church conference with my kids while archiving photos online and cleaning up my desktop
  • 2 hours taking my kids swimming on a play date with one of my friends and her two kids
  • 30 minutes picking up my house and "encouraging" my kids to help me (I'll be honest that I probably spent 20 minutes on the "encouragement" part!)
  • 1 hour eating (breakfast and lunch combined)

I'm feeling pretty good about my day and where I've focused my time. There's me and mom time in there, including both wants and needs. I even felt like I crossed some items off my to-do list. But...

...Today is not like most other days in my life. And typically, in my average day, I need a constant reminder to stop working at the end of my work day; to spend more time with my kids, my friends, my family; to make time for myself; and to be more dedicated to church and community.

5 Tips to Focusing on What Matters Most to You

If you are anything like me and need reminders to help you to stay focused on what truly matters most in your life, here's a few tips on how to get started (taken from Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People):

  1. Identify those things that matter the very most to you. As part of this process, evaluate your mission, vision, and values.
  2. Identify what's urgent, important, and those things that are sucking your time, but not helping you to focus on what's most important in your life.
  3. Schedule your week first around what's most important to you (those things that matter the very most) and then add in tasks for the lesser important things, but those that need to get done.
  4. Say "no," delegate, re-prioritize, get help, or push back any item that does not help you put first things first. (Tips for helping you learn to say "no.")
  5. Replace any feelings of guilt you may have over not getting to your entire task list with feelings of accomplishment for focusing on what truly matters most in your life.

What are your most important priorities? What distractions get in the way of you accomplishing them? How can you review/revise your schedule to first them in your life?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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