Taking Advantage of Your Time
by Greg Hartnett Jr.
Shopping for a computer is a unique experience. We live in an age where technological advances are occurring nearly every day, and it increasingly seems like today’s breakthrough will be obsolete tomorrow. This thought crossed my mind last year, but it did not deter me from seeking out the best laptop available. As I shopped, I finally chose one that would meet all my needs, as well as unlock my full potential. I was confident that my productivity would increase tenfold once it arrived.
As I mentioned, this shopping experience occurred last year. At the time, I was excited about all of the new things I could do. There were untapped programs I planned to utilize on a daily basis, just because I could. And you know what happened? Two weeks after it arrived, I was back to using the same four programs I had always used.
When I reflect on this experience, I am reminded of how often we make great plans, but fail to follow through with them. I had imagined a million different things I would do with my new laptop, but at the end of the day nothing had changed. As an online student, allocating time properly is a daily challenge. We have tasks that we need to accomplish, and even more that we want to complete. Even on a good day this is nearly impossible. Yet the New Testament gives us a consistent reminder to be wise with our time, and to make the most of the time that we have (Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 4:5). The responsibility is on us to manage it well, because ultimately we will give account for how it was utilized.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips to help with daily time management. Online students have many responsibilities, and these tips can help give balance to a busy schedule. They can’t add time to your day, but they can help you to be a good steward of the time you have.
- Put together a to-do list: It has been said that an elephant never forgets, but I don’t know too many elephants. When you think of something that you need to do, write it down! Most smartphones have a notepad where you can type your list without worrying about losing it, but pen and paper work just fine as well.
- Prioritize: Once your list is compiled, you will need to determine which tasks get precedence. God and family should always come first, but after that you’ll have some decisions to make. Discernment is vital in determining which tasks should be prioritized over others.
- Plan ahead: Think about your day and decide when you’ll be able to complete certain tasks. Once you have a plan of action together, stick to it! If you neglect something in the morning, you’ll end up playing catch-up the rest of the day. Determining a plan and sticking with it is a key component to managing your time wisely.
- Take advantage of the “moments”: It’s easy to throw away large chunks of your day a few minutes at a time. Take advantage of the moments that otherwise would be wasted. Going to the doctor’s office for an appointment? Take a textbook with you and finish your reading in the waiting room. There are hundreds of examples of little moments throughout the day that can be used to your advantage if you resolve to stay productive.
- Keep a positive attitude: If you don’t think you’ll be able to get everything finished, odds are you won’t. Hang in there; be encouraged, and take things one moment at a time! Focusing on the big picture can be overwhelming. Focus on the task at hand, and do it with excellence. Remember that no matter the task, you have been commissioned to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
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