YOUNG PEOPLE ASK
How Can I Manage My Time?
Why manage your time?
Time is like money. If you waste it, you won’t have it when you need it. On the other hand, if you budget your time, you will have some left over to do the things you enjoy!
Bible principle: “The lazy person has his cravings, yet he has nothing, but the diligent one will be fully satisfied.”—Proverbs 13:4.
The bottom line: Managing your time will give you more freedom, not less.
Time management is a valuable skill that will serve you well in adulthood. It can even make the difference between your holding down a job and being fired. After all, if you ran a business, would you keep an employee who repeatedly showed up late for work?
Bible principle: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.”—Luke 16:10.
The bottom line: The ability to manage time says something about the kind of person you are.
Admittedly, though, time management isn’t easy. Consider just a few obstacles.
Obstacle #1: Friends
“If friends ask me to go out with them, I almost always make it happen even if I really don’t have the time. I think, ‘Oh, I can do a rush job when I get home.’ It doesn’t always work, and things have gone very wrong as a result.”—Cynthia.
Obstacle #2: Distractions
“TV is like a vacuum cleaner. It sucks you in with its shows and movies, which are hard to resist.”—Ivy.
“I can waste hours on my tablet. I feel guilty when the only thing that stops me is if the battery dies.”—Marie.
Obstacle #3: Procrastination
“I procrastinate on my school assignments and on anything else I need to get done. I’ll waste my time doing something stupid until I absolutely have to get my assignment finished—not exactly the best time management.”—Beth.
What you can do
List your required tasks. Examples include your household chores and homework. Write down how much time you need to complete each task in a typical week.
Bible principle: “Make sure of the more important things.”—Philippians 1:10.
List the activities you like to do in your free time. This could include such activities as social networking and watching TV. Again, write down how many hours you spend on each activity in a typical week.
Bible principle: “Go on walking in wisdom . . . , making the best use of your time.”—Colossians 4:5.
Create a plan. Look back at the two lists you created. Is enough time allocated for the important tasks? Do you need to buy out time from your leisure activities?
Tip: Make a daily to-do list, checking off each item as it is finished.
Bible principle: “The plans of the diligent surely lead to success.”—Proverbs 21:5.
Follow through. True, you might have to turn down a social invitation now and then to get the important things done. Overall, however, you will find that you have more free time—and you will enjoy it more.
Bible principle: “Be industrious, do not loiter at your business.”—Romans 12:11, footnote.
Reward yourself—but not too soon. “Sometimes I will complete two things on my to-do list,” says a young woman named Tara, “and then I’ll think, ‘OK, I can watch TV for 15 minutes and then I’ll get back to work.’ Well, 15 minutes turns into 30, and 30 minutes turns into an hour, and before I know it, I’ve wasted two hours on TV!”
The solution? View recreation as a reward for completing your tasks—not as an automatic part of your day.
Bible principle: “There is nothing better for a man than to . . . find enjoyment in his hard work.”—Ecclesiastes 2:24.