10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

How do you fit more into an already busy schedule?

Isn’t this a great question?

Because, aren’t you being asked to do so all the time? Isn’t your standard reply to the question “how are you?” – BUSY? Aren’t we all?

HOw do you creat more margin in your schedule – to do the things you want to do and the things you need to do?

Here are a 10 tips to help create more time margin:

Start your day with God.

Of course a pastor would say this, but it is amazing if I start the day talking to God about my day how much better my day flows. If I ask God for margin in my time and to help me complete my “to do” list, He actually seems to listen and help me. (Try it!)

Prioritize your life.

It is important to have a life purpose. What do you value most? Without knowing this we find ourselves chasing after many things that have little value. Have you discovered why you are here and what God has most for you in life and in this season of life? If not, start here.

Make sure your priorities line up with your desires.

This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it is not. Many times, we say our purpose is one thing, but what we actually do is something entirely different. This is often because people are going to do what people want to do. We may need to ask God to change our heart and plant in us His desires.

Stop unnecessary time-wasters.

If you “veg” out every night on three plus hours of television or browsing Facebook, don’t be surprised you didn’t get to spend a lot of quality time with your children or friends. Most of us form bad habits or have unorganized methods of doing something that waste bulks of our time. Make a list of what you spend the most time doing and see if there are places you can cut. (I suspect there will be.)

Work smarter.

I can’t imagine being successful and leading a team without some system of calendaring your week or keeping a planner, yet I know so many pastors and other ministers who simply handle things as they come up rather than work with a plan. The benefit of organization is that you can do what you need to do more efficiently and faster and be more productive. Give a shoutout to the checklist people! 

Schedule times to organize.

This is so important, but most people don’t do it. Spending an hour or two actually planning the week will make the whole week more productive. Usually for me this is the first part of my week. If I know where I’m headed and my work space is organized for efficiency, it’s much easier to get everything done and still handle distractions, which are sure to come.

Do the most necessary things first.

You may have tried the A/B/C list of scheduling priorities. It doesn’t matter what system you use, but the important thing is you have one and use it to help your rate of completion. (And, this may be rest, it might be family, or it could be the project you have to complete today.)

Don’t say yes to everything.

Be picky with your time allotment based again on your end priorities and goals.

Schedule down time.

Especially when my boys were younger, I would write on my calendar time for them. This may sound mechanical, but it allows you to be there and keeps things and others from filling up your schedule. (I still schedule this time for Cheryl – and, it sounds counterproductive, but we get away even more frequently during busier seasons.)

Evaluate your schedule often.

Plans should not be implemented and then ignored. Develop your plan to create margin in your life, then periodically review the plan to see how you are doing and what needs to be changed.

For some people just reading this is laborsome. I especially encourage those of you geared this way to push through the difficult part of this and give it a try. You will be surprised what a positive difference it will have on your life.

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Ron Edmondson

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  • Jessica says:

    For me, the biggest time waster is laundry. But I suppose that’s more of a necessary evil. I spend too much time being unorganized. So, I think I’ll take #6 more seriously and see if that helps with my household chores. Great post!

  • Kris says:

    I agree and cheer heartily for #6. I’ve found that scheduling time to organize (planning to plan) is one of the greatest ways to maintain margin…and therefore, sanity. (Always a good thing.) I prefer doing mine at the end of the day on Friday so things are settled (as much as possible) come Monday am.

    Freddy, I find this also gives me some flexibility to schedule in some of my favorite time wasters 😉

    Nice post, Ron.

  • Ron says:

    Google reader is a great time-saver.

    One of my greatest time wasters is not being organized enough and allowing myself to get distracted too easily. (mind wandering). That’s why scheduling brainstorming times is actually a good idea. Thanks Freddy T.

  • Freddy T. says:

    1, 3, and 6 are my favorite on this post! Thanks so much for putting this together. I think for me, the lack of number 6 allows anything and everything to be a time waster for me. Also, in general certain sins or weaknesses propel me toward wasting time. For instance if I am struggling with insecurity one day because of pride or unbelief then I may spend too much time trying to put out fires or please people thus wasting valuable time.

    Probably about a year and half ago, subscribing to google reader allowed me to maximize my blog reading time, so now I do not have to go to 20 or 30 different websites to read the blogs I’m interested in, but rather just pull up my google blog reader.

    I am curious to see what time wasters other people can think of.

    Thanks for the great post Ron!

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