One of the most important aspects of achieving success in time management is the development of a time policy.
A time policy is a guide to scheduling in which you reserve periods of the day for specific activities. This habit reduces the brain’s start-up time. If your prime time is the midmorning or late afternoon, set your priority tasks and quiet-hour time accordingly.
The quiet hour is your time of peak energy during which you give uninterrupted attention to your priority task for the day. If the hourly cost of your secular employment is $10, the hourly cost of your prime time is $20—get the idea? Don’t waste precious quiet-hour time by working on mundane tasks; utilize this time for tasks that are important, perhaps difficult, and those that have eternal consequences.
Following these principles will lead to accomplished goals:
- Regularly review long-range goals for your personal life and ministry.
- Spend a few minutes thinking about and planning your day before you begin it.
- List your tasks and activities in order of priority and concentrate on those at the top.
- Keep and use an ongoing “to do” list.
- Handle the most important tasks of the day when you feel the most alert.
- Group similar tasks together.
- When you’re working on a large project, break the task into small chunks and work on one piece of the project at a time.
- Keep reference materials, such as Bible study guides, various Bible versions, Spirit of Prophecy books, and important manuals within arm’s reach of your primary work area.
- Organize your working tools, such as church directories, books, pens, rulers, telephone, and Rolodex so that they are ready to use the minute you need them.
- Maintain a simple but well-defined filing system, in which you place all loose papers and materials.
- Skim magazines, journals, and reports to learn key information.
- Use waiting time and travel time to catch up on reading.
- Develop backup plans that can be quickly and easily implemented if your original plans don’t work out.
- Keep your secretary, assistant, and/or teachers informed about your work so they can handle minor tasks in your unplanned absence.
- Stop working on a task when you begin to feel stress or a loss of energy.
- Systematically assess where and how you spend your time.
- Take time each week to determine whether you’ve completed the goals you had set.
Remember, time means more than money; time is part of your life that you’re giving away. The more organized you become, the less effort it takes to become even more organized. You’ll have more time for the important things in your life.
*Reprinted by permission from Sabbath School Leadership
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists