Over the last few months, ESN has been sharing tips and reflections related to time management. Like many of the topics we publish on, time management is an area that combines opportunities for practical growth and spiritual formation. Our goal is to encourage readers to steward the gift of time God has given us, using it to love God and others and live out Christ’s Kingdom. Today, we welcome Winston Brady to the blog to share a snapshot of how time management works in his life as he considers doctoral work while teaching in a classical school. You can find other posts in this series here.
For me, time management means cutting more things out instead of managing anything particularly well. I have a wife, a two-year-old son, Hunter, a fun, albeit demanding, job teaching high school and the prospect of doctoral work. We have 168 hours in the week, with 50 hours devoted to sleep and another 18-21 for meals and upkeep. I’ve tried to remove as many unnecessary parts of my day as possible, sticking to a reasonably-disciplined routine so I can get the most out of the time I have for family, work, and leisure.
Few things kill a routine more effectively than television or social media. Thankfully, I’ve lost the password to my Facebook account and the email address from college I used to create my account, so I can only access Facebook from 1 browser on 1 computer. We’ve hidden our TV in our attic, and while this hasn’t blocked out time-killing entertainment completely, it has gone a long way to protecting the time I should spend with my wife and Hunter.
In the evenings, we’ll go out walking together as a family. This removes any other screen that could distract us, as well as the household chores that could occupy our time. Chores are for Saturday, but the early evenings are for my wife and me to watch Hunter throw rocks in the creek. And any work I feel I have to do can wait until the next morning. I try to wake up between 4:30-5:30 to have a meaningful devotional and complete, maybe, 1 task before work, and waking up before my family means I am not stealing time from them. A flexible routine goes a long way in juggling many different responsibilities.
Time management feels like tying a tie under pressure. Loop the fat end around the skinny end and hold it out towards the mirror, then tuck it inside the knot you’ve made. The knot needs to look sharp, so you may need to tie it again, but then you run the risk of being late. Routine makes tying the tie much easier, regardless of how difficult the day is.