Back to the Basics: The #1 Key to Mastering Time Management

 

Do you remember the first day of the year? How did you spend it? Did you lay out the goals you had for yourself? Did you spend time in reflection? I know on January 1, many people made declarations that no matter what  happened in 2016, 2017 would be their year, 2017 would be better. But then…life happened.

“Be careful how you live then, not as unwise but as wise. Making the most of the time for the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16

I firmly believe that most, if not all people, start each year, each month, each week and even each day with good intentions but with all the things that compete for our time, it’s hard to stick with them. That’s why today we’re talking about time management and the #1 key to mastering it. Do you have paper and a pen? If so, let’s get started.

In my life’s experience and in countless time spent planning – I’ve come to assess that the #1 key to mastering time management lies in one word – consistency. If you make something a habit, you train your body to crave that thing. This can be working out in the morning, spending time in Bible study, meal prepping or even getting things like homework or work assignments completed throughout the week. Setting aside the same thirty minutes to an hour each day to accomplish the task you’ve predetermined helps you to be effective, efficient and more focused. What’s more, it allows you to form habits which makes each task easier to stick with. Lastly, it keeps other, non-essential things, from creeping into your schedule unexpectedly.

There have been weeks that, because I did not write out what I needed to get done at the beginning, were pretty wasteful. I did not know what lay ahead of me and so I found myself drifting. With no clear focus I jumped at the chance to participate in any activity not recognizing the lack of significance those activities would have in the long run for me. It’s like scrolling down your Instagram or Facebook feed, you may have started out looking for that article or picture or specific posting, but then before you know it you’re commenting on photos, sharing a post of your own and a whole hour has passed with no clear outcome.

When I’m working on a particular project and need to get something done – I love using the Pomodoro method. It allows you to set a timer for your desired time and gives you a five minute break between each task you need to complete during a particular session. I try to give completely undivided attention to the project or task I’ve predetermined during what I usually have set as 25 minute intervals and what I’ve come to discover is that when I zone in on that task for those 25 minutes it usually takes me a shorter amount of time than I imagined. When we’re not distracted we can get so much more done. This is also why, if I’m trying to be efficient with my time, I’ll put my phone on Do Not Disturb or Airplane Mode. Pair that with turning off my pop up notifications on my computer and I can really get in the zone!

You may be thinking to yourself, is it really that simple? And I’m happy to say that when you have made your mind up and decided that time is not just going to pass you by anymore, you’ll find it easier to commit.

In review – if you want to master time management and need specific ways on how to do it:

  1. Be Consistent – keep 7 a.m. each morning open for your devotion or Sunday afternoons open for meal prep
  2. Set a Timer – this gives your work an expected end and allows you to zone in on your project.
  3. Remove All Distractions – whether that means turning your phone on Airplane Mode, removing computer notifications or even turning down your music, work on creating an environment where you can be the most productive.

Now it’s your turn:

What are some time management wins you’ve had this week? Be sure to share them in the comments below.

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About Brie Daniels

Author of The Black Girl's Guide to Living on Purpose and Executive Director of Black Girls with Purpose.