At almost 26 years old, I am thankful for the responsibility and success God has afforded me in my career and personal life. 10% of the time, I feel like I have it all together. 90% of the time, I feel like I don't quite know what I'm doing and have that nagging feeling that I'm missing something big. Whispered prayers, an honest smile and a positive spirit can overcome the learning curve and many mistakes!
One blessing and curse that God weaved into my fabric is a Type-A desire to be organized and scheduled. And thank God He put people in my life who would put up with my vacation itineraries, multiple calendars, menus, and extensive budgets.
With all that said, I do have a little Type-A advice for how to better manage your time and make the most out of your life - whether you are an I-even-put-showering-on-my-to-list control freak like me or someone who has never kept a schedule in their lives... Hopefully these points will encourage you.
Know your priorities
Know what your life priorities are (God, family, friendships, your church, missions work, growing in a career, etc.) and then also know what your priorities in a certain season of life are (a specific project, a sick relative, starting a family, planning a wedding, working towards a promotion, getting used to a new job, etc.). Write these down. Have them ever-present in your mind. Discuss them with your spouse or a close friend or relative. And then focus on your priorities. This will help you make a decision when two events happen on the same night or two people need your attention. This will help you focus on what you want your life to be about.
Know how you spend your time
What did you do today? Do you feel like you made a difference? Did you use your time wisely? We are all given 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week - and God has given us a specific time on earth. Don't waste it. A good exercise is to keep a record of all the big things you did in a day. Things that matter to you. Things that mattered. This will show you where your priorities are, where they should be and help you reevaluate how you spend your time.
Daily goals. Weekly goals. Seasonal goals. And life goals. Goals are how you live out your priorities. How you control your time, instead of your time controlling you. Honestly pray about what God has for you in this area. Make your goals attainable. Substantial. Know what your seasonal goals are, how they work towards your life goals, and then use your weekly and daily goals to make those happen. You can set a handful of broad goals or have a more specific task-by-task to do list.
Remember what matters
This is hard for me. I am a Martha through and through. Sometimes I have to make myself (using every clinched tooth I have) be more like Mary. If there are dirty dishes but Derrick wants to show me something, I have to remember what matters, take a deep breath and do the dishes later (or do them really quickly and then give him my full attention ;)...okay, not my point). If I have a deadline at work and a student walks in, that student deserves my full attention. They matter.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
God made us all different, unique, strong and weak. I'm good at being organized and love making calendars and lists. I'm not so good when things change. I'm good when I get in the groove, owning a project, my music playing in the background. I struggle in group tasks and team projects. I'm good at connecting with people, but sometimes I let my nagging to do list keep me from really peeling back those layers. I like writing, cooking, cleaning, walking and studying the Bible. I'm not crafty, I can't paint, I don't run or play sports, and I get bored trying to how to do something new.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. And be okay with who you are and how God made you. But never stop growing.
I hope you'll get out a notebook and a pen this weekend and think through how you can better manage success (success in your life, with the skills and responsibilities God has given you - not the world's definition of success) and be a successful manager of the time and resources you have.
And if you made it this far - and are still reading - thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I never feel worthy for people to actually read the whole thing!