How To Make Better Use Of Time


Most of us would love a few extra hours each week or to make better use of our time.  There may be a way to achieve that, but it will require a little effort on your part.

I have heard financials advisors suggest people keep track of every dollar they spend for a month, looking for the areas they need to change. Several years ago I decided to try this with my time.  For one week I kept a journal of everything I did with my time in 15-minute increments.  At the end of the week I was able to see places I was wasting valuable time and place which needed more time allocated to them.

As a pastor, for an example, if I spend 30 minutes of my time alone in the car everyday, that’s a fairly good opportunity to catch up listening to sermons I try to hear each week, freeing other time when I’m in the office.  If 30 minutes of my week is spent responding to questions about the same subject, perhaps some alignment needs to be made in the systems we have in place.  At the same time, if I find that I spend only an hour a week investing in my staff, then I probably need to rearrange some things in my schedule.

Try this for a week and see what you discover:

1.    Journal every activity of your week in 15 minute increments.  (You don’t have to be legalistic about it; don’t write down every time you take a drink of water unless that’s consuming huge parts of your day.)
2.    Don’t try to review your list daily, wait until the week is complete.
3.    Review your journal at the end of the week circling places where the bulk of your time is spent and looking for anything you see unusually allocated or missing, based on what you want and need to accomplish in a week.
4.    Be willing to alter your schedule and habits, if needed, to make more productive use of your time and create more time margin.

I know, some are thinking “that’s a lot of work”, but the results of a more productive schedule will be worth the week-long investment.

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3 thoughts on “How To Make Better Use Of Time

  1. Believe it or not, when I worked for an insurance office, we kept track of our time like this everyday. To make it easy on yourself, make a chart with your expected types of work or activities going down the left side, with days of the week across the top. Fill in the times in the boxes.

    If you want to really be OCD, count what you are doing, i.e. records filed etc. and you can also find your most productive times of day.

  2. Thanks, Ron! I’m going to do it. As a working mom for the first time after 19 years of being a fulltime homemaker, I find that I am alternately overwhelmed and feeling guilty for being sluggish! I’m interested to see where I can make adjustments.