Get Out of Time Debt
By Karen H Whiting
If your calendar is filled weeks or months ahead, you’re in time debt. If you race from one commitment to another with out time to exercise, eat, or even sleep enough, you’re in time debt. You’ve charged the hours before they have arrived and filled your days with too many commitments. That causes stress that makes it hard relax, spend time with loved ones, or minister to others.
Figure out current commitments and time you desire to spend with family. Keeping a time dairy for one month may help you recall where you spend your time now. Then see if there’s any time left for new commitments. If there’s no available time, either say no to all new commitments or graciously step away from some current obligations. This may mean handing over jobs to others or delegating tasks.
Decide how to allocate available time. Write a mission statement and set goals to meet dreams. Those provide a framework to view future direction and life purpose. Check each new opportunity to see if the activity fits your mission or not. Decide if it is important for your relationships. If neither, then decline. If either, ask how much time will be needed and how it can fit into your life. It may need to wait until you give up a different commitment.
Make changes to your busy life to make it more manageable.
Review the list below and take action as needed.
Limit your time spending. Stop filling the calendar too soon. Live more in the present time. For example, allow only two major functions to be booked a few months ahead. Keep one weekend (Monday-Tuesday or Friday-Saturday) free every month.
Use a simple calendar not a detailed planner. We don’t live in 15-minute increments. Those time slots are for businesses. Consider three main blocks of time: morning, afternoon, and evening. Fill in no more than one major activity in each block.
Keep family time sacred. This includes mealtime and outings as well as time with your spouse.
Time yourself to see how long it actually takes to complete regular tasks (even getting up and dressed).
Budget time needed for sleep, eating, getting ready for the day, and exercise. Group and delegate what you can, but allow time for your own responsibilities.
Schedule time cushions between appointments and activities. This leaves room to relax or to react to a crisis.
Give yourself a day of rest weekly and take it.
Let others help you. Delegate according to people’s gifts. Spend more time using your strengths and find helpers who are strong where you are weak.
Freeing up time and making choices that fit your life’s goals will relieve stress. You’ll also be happier doing what fits your life’s goals.