By ALLIE MYSZKA

Time.

No matter where you live, what you do, or who you are, time is something we all get the same amount of. So why does it seem like most of us never have enough of it?

A few short weeks ago, I wrote all about how to start a personal calendar system, and how it can help you better manage your time. That’s a great starting point, but WHY is it that time management can truly improve your life?

At a deeper level, time management is also priority management. We give our time to what our priorities are—intentionally or otherwise. If you’re feeling unfulfilled, or like you’re just going through the motions, maybe you’re in need of a time management check-in to see where your priorities lie.

Look at your schedule now. What’s taking up most of it? Work? Family? Friends? Whatever it is, if it’s not truly what you want to fill your days with, it’s time to make some changes. Managing your time well means diminishing time spent on things that don’t matter to you, and exchanging that for time spent doing things that make your heart happy. When you’re short on joy, here are just a few things you can find with a little soul-searching and wise time management changes.

  1. Lower stress levels.

Last-minute deadlines or rushed shopping trips because you forgot a friend’s bridal shower are not doing your heart or mind much good. Get into the habit of putting something on the calendar as soon as you find out about it. Devote some time each week to look ahead and plan in advance for upcoming obligations and engagements. Advanced planning is sure to alleviate some of the stress in your life, and make room for more enjoyable experiences.

  1. More time with family and friends.

Speaking of making room for more enjoyable experiences, part of managing your time well is knowing where exactly your hours are spent during the week. Feeling like you haven’t seen enough of your loved ones lately? Solve that by blocking out a time specifically to be with your spouse, kids, and other family members. This way, you dictate what’s a priority to you—instead of the chaos of life taking over your time.

  1. Opportunities to serve your community.

In the wake of natural disasters and tragedies striking in our country and community, many of us feel a newfound desire to help those in need. If you’re feeling a pull to serve in your community, take a long, hard look at your schedule. What work tasks can you streamline to make time to go to the women’s shelter for an hour in the evenings? What errands could you reschedule for another day so that you could give your time to a school or church organization that you hold dear? Making service a priority can have a lasting positive impact on those you serve, but it can also lift your spirits and help you create valuable relationships.

Time management is tricky, but it’s so much more than just making sure that two appointments don’t overlap in your calendar. Much like a budget tells your money where to go, managing your time keeps you in control. We could all use a little more joy in our lives, so start treating your calendar like an indication of your priorities. After all, we only have so much time to live, and wouldn’t you rather know that you’re spending yours where it matters?

 

Allie was born and raised in Georgia, and moved to Nashville after graduating from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, an old soul, and a chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie or see more of her work on her website.