Where do you spend your time?


There is a saying: If you want to know what a person values- look at what they do with their time and money.

What would others see when they look at how you spend your time?

Do you spend your free time? – Working; Watching TV; Participating in Recreational Activities; Partying; Playing Video Games; Texting

Dr. Randy Carlson of Family Life Communications challenges us to live intentional lives. One area of intentional living is using our time. How do we live our lives intentionally in the use of time? First, we need to look at how our time is already committed in our lives.

Time-use researcher Dagfinn Aas classifies how our time is committed each day.

  •  Contracted Time is time which you use toward work or study.
  • Committed Time is time which you use to take care of home & family.
  • Necessary Time is time which you use toward maintaining yourself. (eating, sleeping, exercising, personal grooming)
  • Free Time is the time which is left after you have completed the other time use activities.

How do we prioritize each area of time?

How do we achieve a balance in the use of time?

Isn’t that one of the more difficult decisions to make in our lives? Most of us want more free time to do the activities that are of interest to us. Yet, when we think about the most fulfilling activities in our life, I think most of us would agree that it is the trusted relationships and personal connections in our lives that give us true joy. There is a saying, “On your deathbed, you won’t wish you had spent more time working, you will wish you had spent more time connecting in your relationships.”

The prioritizing and balancing our use of time has another factor that complicates our decision making. We must consider individual personal time or social time with others; Indoor activities or outdoor activities and active activities or passive activities. We have a lot to prioritize and balance!

Denis Waitley has described time in this quote: “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”

Here are several suggestions that may help in the effective use of our time:

  1. Use a calendar on your wall or on your phone to help you know the activities which you are committing yourself. This will give you a record that will help in prioritizing and balancing.
  2. Intentionally schedule your trusted relationships. If we aren’t intentional, our calendar will get filled with activities and we will miss out on important relationship building opportunities. Remember: trusted relationships only- life-giving not life-draining relationships.
  3. Assess your time usage often. This will help you adjust your time usage to make sure you are effectively prioritizing and balancing your schedule.
  4. Remember you can always change how you use your time. Our time is one of our most precious resource. Even if we have wasted your time, you only have to be aware of the waste and use the rest of your time more wisely.

Next: Families need abundant but not stifling time together.

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