Tag Archive: time management

Eternal clock by Robert van der Steeg

If you were to assign points to all of my time management skills six months ago and then add them together…you would probably come up with a negative number (some days you still do). Yeah. I’m the one who sits down to check her email “real quick” and discovers that three hours have passed (though that might have something to do with the fact that my FanFiction.net alerts are forwarded to my email). Time is not fluid for me…it is either too fast or too slow. And there is never enough of it.

Seriously, between school, a part-time job, homework, fifteen hours of driving, voice practice, piano practice, guitar and chores (thought I try to avoid those) where is a girl supposed to find time to read and write in her week? Plus, I’m trying to be semi-regular with my blog (it helps if there is something for readers to read).

So I came to a simple conclusion: There needs a eighth day in our week. Preferably added to the weekend category and not the weekday.

However, since that didn’t appear to be happening any time soon I decided to do the next best thing.

Learn how to manage my time wisely.

It’s a trick that I have tried many times through high school and college and it’s never really worked out. My lack of persistence probably didn’t help any either. But I think I finally found a system that works for me…and you can find a system that works for you too!

The key to my system is my planner and calendar. When I can I like to have these in the same place. Now, my planner is divided by weeks, with plenty of space for each day’s activities. I can open to a particular week and see what I need to get done. I also try to keep a calendar that I can just jot down tests, due dates, deadlines appointments and the like on. It might also have my favorite TV shows listed…it just might.

Everything goes down in my planner. Forget the syllabus…all my assignment, test and paper dates go in my planner. That way I don’t have to worry about having nine different syllabi (remember, I’m a music major we take, like, a bajillion classes a semester), it’s all right there. Of course, the syllabus is good for other things, so I keep it around, but at least I’m not going to be surprised by any tests (hopefully).

From there I make lists.

Oh, yes, I am a list person. I like making them, I like the feeling I get as I cross things off. It makes me feel powerful (Mwahahaha!). I’m also much more focused when I have a list that tells me what I need to get done that day. Or as I sometimes look at it…these are the obstacles standing between me and my book–DIE!

However you want to structure your system I would suggest having something that looks at your week as a whole and then at each day. I can know that I have a paper and two tests in one week, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be disciplined enough to study for them ahead of time. At the same time, taking things day by day can let things sneak up on you. So I have one list that looks at my whole week so that I can balance things out. Do I have two assignments due for two different classes on Friday? If I were to discover this the day before they were due, I’d be tearing my hair out.

I happen to like my hair, so I try to avoid that.

My weekly list allows me to balance assignments. I’d know to work on one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. As I said before, the daily list gives me something to focus on and cross off each day. I try to give each item a general start time (or a definite one if it’s something that needs one) so that I know about how much of my day has been used up. It helps to keep my day from becoming too full.

A word of caution though: avoid planning out every single minute. You’ll kill yourself. Things happen, you forget to switch the laundry over or you take a route with three school zones. Time gets away from us. Or we happen to be missing an all important piece for that project. Sometimes, you have to reschedule.

Sometimes you crumple the list up and decide, by Zeus, you are going to finish Magic Study today and the rest of the world can just wait.

On that note, makes sure you leave some time for you. I try to leave my whole Sunday afternoon.

So, yes, I have to schedule my writing times, most of the time. But that also helps me to focus. I go, “Alright, I have two hours to write–let’s go!” My words are my uniform, my pen is my weapon. I’m on a mission. Deadlines help us focus like nothing else so use them. Set them for yourself.

Say, “Okay, by the end of the week, I want to have character sketches for A, B, and C” of “By the end of this month, I’d like to be to this point in my story”.

Using both of these tools, your “planner” and deadlines (or goals if you prefer) you will be surprised how  much you start to get done. Even the housework–because, dog-gone-it, I am not letting these dishes stand in the way of me and my book.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to go write.

So what about you? What do you use to keep yourself on track? How do you mark your progress?

(BTW, as proof that I’m not just being anal about this whole “writer’s write” and “make time to write” deal, here’s a post from my friend Dot’s blog. Check it out, she’s got some useful tips.)


Morning Study by Garrett Crawford

Let’s face it. As fascinating and exciting as the Bible can be sometimes, we don’t always get all that much out of it. I’ll admit that some days I feel like all I’m doing is reading words on a page. But I found that with a few suggestions, I have made those times fewer. So now I am passing that on to you.

First, I know this is going to seem really, really obvious, but make sure you begin your Bible study time in prayer. I know, DUH! But I didn’t used to and sometimes I get so focused on what I’m supposed to be doing that I still forget to. Prayer is more than just saying “Hey God, please fill my head with knowledge so that I can scrape through this day”, it also stills your mind and helps you focus on what your time with God. Maybe a few calming breaths at the end too,  just for good measure. Let all that stress and everything that has to get done fall away until it’s just you and God.

Secondly, always have a notebook and pencil nearby. This is absolutely necessary for me, because how I study the Bible requires underlining, making notes and then putting all of that together into a daily entry (more on that in a minute). But even if you don’t have a specific method, the notebook serves two purposes. One: It gives you a place to write down anything that is revealed to you as you read. My old Bible journals have all kinds of little references to verses and what God was telling me through them. I also used it to jot down questions. Two: it provides a place to write your prayers down. Not only does this help me to truly get my burdens off of my chest, it also it kind of fun. I can look back and see a difference between how and what I prayed about then and now. The pencil, besides being a writing tool, well, it just makes me feel smarter.

Have your planner or something to write down anything that tries to distract you. The devil will do anything he can to keep us from connecting with God–even use legitimate reasons. Need to do the laundry? Write it down. Did you forget to turn in a paper on Blackboard? Write it down. Trust me, the dirty clothes will still be there and the paper will not disappear from your computer if you don’t turn it in (Although, if it’s due in a few minutes, I’m sure God will understand).

Speaking of distractions: If you can, attempt to remove yourself from them. It’s not always easy to remove the distractions from the room, but it is possible to move yourself. Make sure the dog is taken out (yes, Mom, I put that one in there just for you), that the children are fed or sleeping, and maybe let the others in your house know to please not disturb you unless someone is dying/bleeding. This isn’t always possible…I’ve carried out many early morning Bible studies during my break at work, but the less I have to block out, the easier it is to focus.

You don’t have to have fancy books and dictionaries with the original Greek and Hebrew. I love using these resources when I can get my hands on them, but quality Bible study time is dependent more on how much effort you put into it than how many books you have to reference. That’s not saying that you shouldn’t learn what you can, try to figure out a method of your own. It might take a while or you might have to come up with a hybrid version of several.

My daily devotions have developed over the last three years, from simply reading through my Bible plan to focusing on one idea from my daily text and writing about it. Some of you may already be familiar with Wayne Cordeiro’s S.O.A.P. method (or at least, he’s more or less the one I got is from), but for those who aren’t I will briefly go over it. I’ve found that it’s has helped me get more and apply more of what I read. The acronym S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer and it’s a method to help focus a great deal of text into one daily application to take away from your time with the Lord. This is only a brief description. I highly suggest reading Wayne Cordeiro’s book, The Divine Mentor, for more—this is only one part of the book, he has a lot of wisdom to pass on.

Scripture: Highlight or mark any scriptures that jump out at you, anything that feels like God is speaking to you.

Observation: Of those scriptures that stood out, pick one. What exactly is it telling you? What can you take away  from it?

Application: How does what you’ve focused on today apply to you specifically? Write down what you it is you think you need to do or learn. And here’s the hard part, you actually need to do/apply it.

Prayer: Pretty self-explanatory I think. I try to thank God for his instruction that day and for other blessings in my life. As someone once told me, “Thankful people are rarely bitter people.”

There is no hard, fast rule about Bible study. It is specific to each person. I’ve discovered what works for me…now it’s time for you to find out what works for you.

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