filling our time

Since beginning work in the pastorate I think I am finally beginning notice that days don’t seem long enough. I go to work in the morning, come home and cook a nice dinner with Kelli, sit down and read for a couple of minutes, watch some of whatever TV series we are in, and then it is 10:30 or 11. At this point I know I could stay up and read some more and be slightly tried the next or just go to bed like I should. Normally I go to bed. But I am wondering if any of you few readers have any ideas of how to squeeze some more time out of your days. Would getting up earlier help a ton? Would quitting TV altogether make the day seem longer? I’d be interested in hearing what sort of patterns have helped some of you grasp the constant filling of our time.

Along this long lines writing this reminded me of this great clip of John Cleese talking about creativity.

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3 thoughts on “filling our time

  1. An interesting question for sure. If you want your days to “feel” longer, just do more boring stuff… but it sounds more like you are looking to accomplish more…

    Could be that you have too much to do and aren’t doing it in the right order. In that case taking the last few minutes of your day to plan the next day, and the last few minutes of each week to plan the next week might help make sure you are working on the appropriate priorities.

    Of course cutting out TV always helps, but you do need to acknowledge that downtime and entertainment exists for a reason, and that without it you will slowly go crazy. Just make sure your entertainment options are fulfilling and not “killing time”.

  2. Your post came at a good time because I was reviewing some time management ideas.

    I believe it was Brain Tracy who said that the most important thing about time-management is accepting that you do not have enough time to do all that you would like to do. Consequently, you must set both priorities and “posterior-ities.”

    The posterior-ities are things that you take off your to-do list when you add something new to the list.

    A key is to focus on doing the high-payoff tasks and eliminating the low-payoffs. How do you know it is low-payoff? One sign is that there is no negative consequence if you do not do it. Watching TV is a low payoff task. Cooking and eating together as a family is a high payoff task.

    In terms of specific suggestions:

    For TV, you can save a lot of time if you record shows and watch them later without commercials (or watch shows without commercials via the internet). Or make good use of the commercial time: I know a man who does yoga during the commercials, so he gets a real benefit that way.

    Another idea is to watch or listen to higher quality shows (e.g., educational, spiritual, or books on tape), which shifts TV toward a higher payoff. Pick shows that, in addition to being entertaining, might serve as fodder for your sermons or other aspects of your work (or Kelli’s too).

    I think listening to the radio (or podcasts) instead of watching TV is better for you because you engage your imagination to picture the scene, and often you can do some other work or activity at the same time. I often listen to football or baseball while cooking.

    For the cooking: you might try to cook several meals at one time as a time saver.

    The problem with getting up earlier is that it cuts into your sleep just as much as staying up late. Nevertheless, people do find success by getting up early and completing key tasks before the start of the official workday. Once in that habit, it is easier to get up early and then go to bed early, rather than to stay up late and try to function well the next day.

    Gary’s suggestion about planning for the next day is a good one. Every day we all should stop what we are working on at about 15 or 20 minutes before quitting time and use those last 15 minutes to plan for the next day. (And should not deviate from that plan the next day without good reasons.)

  3. Thanks for the advice guys. One of the things I hear being stressed is intentionality. Living you life hopping from one thing to next means your doing much intentionally and I think that is something I need to look at more when I sit down and look at the time I have.

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