“I have too much time on my hands and not enough things to do!” said no one ever.
We all struggle to find time to have quiet time reading the Bible, take care of our spouse, raise our children, workout, and oh yeah pursue our dreams. Just typing that makes me want to cry and have a mini nervous breakdown. The stretch of all of life’s demands can make us give up something.
We will cut out our time with God, stop pursuing our spouse, ignore our kids, ignore our health, or give up on our dreams. Of course, not all at the same time. We usually drop one thing on a regular basis and the problem is that the consequences aren’t felt until years of habits and decisions catch up with us.
That’s not good enough! Dropping any of those things is not the life that God has designed for us! Coming up with more time is crucial to being able to do “it all.” These 4 things will help give you more time to achieve your dreams in all areas of life.
The first thing to understand when you are trying to make more time is the Pareto Principle. This principle is also called the 80/20 rule. It states that for many events roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the cause. In other words, 20% of the things you do produce 80% of your results. To make time grow on trees we need to remember this principle because it means that if we know what activities are producing the 80% return we can do those and cut everything else. That makes up a lot of time. If you work 40 hours a week you could be just as effective only working 8 hours if you are doing the right activities.
Bonus tip: Don’t tell people you are worthless 80% of the time.
Cut the Fat
I like to start with easy things first. Cut out things that you already know aren’t helping you towards your ideal life. Facebook, T.V., email, worrying, and arguing are a few things that could be cut if you don’t know where to start. As you look for areas to gain time, start with these extra things and you will get instant time. You can keep doing those activities as some are not bad, however, they are time wasters. Be a little slower answering texts, emails, and instant messenger. Cut the fat to find instant time.
Experiment and Track
Now that you know the Pareto Principle you need to figure out your 20%. What are you doing that is producing your results? What are you doing that is not helping you achieve the life you desire? Experiment with different activities for a few months and see if those activities are moving you towards your goals or away from them.
There will be a sweet spot where a certain level of activity gets you the most benefit. Experiment trying to find that level. For example, running helps me get in shape, but marathons are over my sweet spot. On long runs I must eat sugar shots in order to run further. I know it’s really stupid, but I like the challenge of marathons. If it was all about fitness, I could pull back the long runs and get the same physical result.
Experiment with activities and the amount of time spent to zero in on time savings.
Zone of Genius
There are certain things you are naturally gifted at and certain activities are daring and you’re kind of crappy at it. Stop doing the things you stink at and hire it out. Work in your area of strength more and more. You will be more productive and happier. Two for one win. As you work more in your area of gifting you will find that you make more money to be able to pay the person that is gifted in your weakness. Narrowing down on your area of strengths will give you more time!
These are just a few tips that will add time to play with your kids and talk with you spouse. Hey, you may even gain more traction on your dream and not be a zombie in the evening. I mean, I never fall asleep on the couch at the end of the day. Remember practice makes improvement. Keep fine tuning your routine and time will become abundant. You were made to dream just make sure to bring your family with you.
P.S. Want more tips and tricks to reach your dreams with a family? Check out Chasing Dreams in a Minivan!
Questions to Ponder:
What do you cut when you’re short on time?
Where are you wasting time?
Prayer: God, thank you for giving me all the time I need to do everything that you have called me to do. Help me to steward my time wisely. Give me peace when my to-do list seems longer then what I have time for. Multiply my efforts. In Jesus’ name, amen.