Neither money nor possessions are more precious than time. American entrepreneur, Michael Altshuler, wrote, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Benefits of Time Management
Masters of time management have learned to minimize or even eliminate wasteful and/or unimportant activities to maximize time invested on activities that mean the most to them. We can intentionally control how we invest our time and energy to work smarter and not harder. With more freedom to do more of the things that truly matter, we are more likely to live fulfilling lives of meaning and purpose.
Distractions & Procrastination
We all have twenty-four hour days. Distractions steal time, blur focus, and reduce productivity. The better boundaries we set, the better equipped we are to prioritize the most important tasks. Do we fight against time or do we strategically make time work for us? If we allow interruptions, tardiness, or procrastination to manifest in the form of reactivity, these energies can take over our lives, wreaking havoc in the form of incomplete tasks, missed opportunities, and unlived potential. American author, Zig Ziglar, wrote, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem.
Time Management Matrix
Developed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, The Eisenhower Matrix is an easy, yet extremely effective way to prioritize and manage tasks and time. This system separates all activities into one of four priority levels based on urgency and importance. By deciding to invest our time in the “Important & Not Urgent” quadrant, we proactively 1) minimize emergencies from the “Important & Urgent” quadrant, 2) delegate things from the “Not Important & Urgent” quadrant, and 3) delete things from the “Not Important & Not Urgent” quadrant. American strategist, Tony Morgan, wrote, “You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.”
- Important & Urgent tasks receive the highest priority level. Drop everything and get it done. Time spent here is reactive.
- Important & Not Urgent tasks are the goals and tasks that are important and not urgent. This is the most rewarding quadrant; time spent here allows us to live proactively.
- Not Important & Urgent tasks are the ones we can delegate to others (or complete ourselves if we must), but only after first and second quadrant tasks are completed.
- Not Important & Not Urgent tasks are placed in the “Delete” quadrant because we should eliminate them; they are a waste of time.
Time Management Tips for Children in Grades K to 2
As children approach and move through these early grades, they’ll learn to read clocks and calendars. Young kids must learn to recognize time and organization before they can learn about time management. Once children understand the concept of time, parents can introduce the visual of an hourglass or a Time Timer to illustrate that time real does slip away.
Time Management for Children in Grades 3 to 5
As children get older, they have more responsibilities, making organization, prioritization, and timeliness that much more important. By assessing and reassessing how long things take, children develop a sense of things as they learn to manage their time, schedule, and expectations. What went well? Where do expectations need to be adjusted? Mothers can teach children to break down larger or longer-range projects into smaller blocks to make things attainable one step at a time.
Demonstrate the rock, pebble, and water analogy exercise in a mason jar. The rocks symbolize essential must-dos, such as eating, drinking, and sleeping. The pebbles symbolize the next level of must-dos, such as attending school, completing homework, and doing chores. The water symbolizes want-to-dos, such as playing video games, shooting hoops, and watching movies. Put the rocks in, then the pebbles, then pour in the water. Once the jar is full, let the children see the water overflow when we try to then add in more rocks or pebbles. This exercise can spark a great conversation about needs, wants, goals, priorities, and passions.
Time Management for Teenagers
Academic, social, sports, and family responsibilities pull on teenagers from every direction. Each teenager has a different style and a unique rhythm to their life. Is there a time of day they tend to be more focused and productive? Share concepts and tools with them—like The Eisenhower Matrix and the rock, pebble, and water analogy. Encourage them to take charge (they’ll resist if we try to take the lead).
If teens are experiencing too much external stress, ask them to consider starting assignments and other projects earlier. If there’s too much internal stress, discuss ways to find a healthy perspective on what’s important and what’s not.
Unpreparedness, procrastination, susceptibility to distractions, arriving late to commitments, and not completing homework on time are all signs of poor time management. Some teenagers just don’t pay attention and are always running behind. Teach them to be aware of how long certain tasks take so they can learn to manage their time more effectively.
Electronic devices aren’t only distracting; they can severely disrupt the natural progression of real-life. Sure, mom should set and enforce screen time limits, but how much more empowering will it be if children learn to set and enforce their own limits? If we can teach them to be so prudent that they limit their own screen time, this self-discipline will serve throughout their lives.
By making the best use of our time, we can focus on the tasks that matter most and avoid wasting our lives meandering around in Squanderville. With clarity of purpose, the power of time management equips us to invest our time living the life we most desire. English biologist, Charles Darwin, wrote, “A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” —Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT
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PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Mothers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.