Time management is something I’ve loved to dabble in but have never mastered. I am very good at keeping busy, but not so good at accomplishing the tasks and to-do lists that constantly whirl in my mind. Enter Tell Your Time, a short ebook that has recently reframed my relationship with the clock and the calendar!
What sets this book apart from other time-management books and articles is that it doesn’t tell you how to fit everything into your schedule – in fact, if you follow the system in this book you might end up doing less than what you started with. The author, Amy Lynn Andrews, has a very realistic approach that I love – there are only so many hours in the day, and they are a God-given limit on what we can accomplish. The trick is figuring out how to use those hours in the best way, to be productive without ending up burnt out or dabbling aimlessly in many things without accomplishing our most important goals.
Tell Your Time outlines four basic steps to building a schedule that works, and even though I decided not to create a schedule in the end, I found it really helpful to go through these steps on a personal level, outlining my values and goals, and plotting out ways to achieve those goals. As someone who loves structure and consistency in my life, I have made a fair number of schedules over the years, and they never really last, but I think that is because I have always used schedules to organize what I do, not to reflect what I value. As I continually adapt to my new role as a mom and to life with a new baby, the last thing I need is to feel behind schedule, but the perspective of this book toward time really resonated with me. Amy compares time in our schedule to money in our budget – there is only so much of it, and if we spend it frivolously there won’t be enough left for what we truly need or want.
Just as there are several ways to effectively manage money, I am excited to figure out a way to manage my time other than building a fixed schedule. Like I’ve said, the exercises to figure out my values and priorities were really helpful, and they have already borne fruit by helping me make some time management decisions in the last few days. I spent the afternoon at a friend’s house without worrying I’d be behind on laundry because being present as a friend is more important to me than falling a day behind on chores. It was so nice to make this decision without angst! (Some of you would be amazed/horrified at the mental process I have to go through for simple decisions like this.)
I have already recommended this book to a friend of mine who is constantly busy and stressed, and I’m hoping Matt will read it as well. If you are interested, the ebook sells for $2.99 (USD), and if you buy it through any of the links in this post I will get a kickback, so you will not only be learning a great approach to time management, but you’ll be supporting this little blog at the same time! If you don’t have an e-reader, you could still read this book as a PDF file on your computer (I started reading it on my computer and finished it on my e-reader!) Lest I have been too sales-pitchy, please know I would honestly recommend this book whether or not there was money involved, I just want to be upfront that there is that financial aspect to it. And if you don’t buy the book we can still be friends It’s just been a great resource for me that I’m happy to share!
Now as I hop off the computer for a while, I’d love to know: how do you manage your time? Does a schedule work, or do you try to go with the flow?