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 Lonnette Harrell

“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” Brian Tracy

Truthfully, isn’t prioritizing our lives the greatest challenge that we face everyday? With so many things to accomplish, and never enough time to get it all done, we are forced to make difficult decisions. Does our career come first or our family? Is it more important to have some relaxation time, or should our priority be getting some exercise? Do we need to spend time catching up with our friends, or should we spend that time catching up with work projects? Is it more important to say “yes” to church and charity volunteer work, or should we use those hours for needed leisure time activities? Is it worth the time to cook, or should we buy fast food? Should we go to bed for our health’s sake, or can we afford to lose a little sleep, if it means that some of the stress at work is relieved by working overtime? And so it goes, each and every day. We all have the same amount of time in each day, but all of us prioritize our lives differently.  The truth is–most of us give in to the “tyranny of the urgent.” We don’t really make decisions about time management, we just flounder back and forth between what seems most pressing at the moment.

If we want to spend our time wisely, we have to be disciplined. It is vital that we manage our time, or our time will end up managing us. And of course, in these hectic days, another strategy that helps is multi-tasking. If exercise needs to be added to an already busy schedule, perhaps you can make a few phone calls while on the treadmill, or while walking around the neighborhood. Or you could watch you favorite TV program for relaxation as you do your workout. You can also listen to teaching or music CDs through a headset, or enjoy your favorite music on your iPod. Try to think of ways to combine activities, that will allow you to be more productive in less time. Sometimes I have combined my walking with prayer.

Use time in the car to listen to self-help or educational tapes, or recite positive affirmations, or pray. In this busy world, it is hard to find as much privacy (in public) as your car affords. (Of course, make sure to be attentive to your driving as well.)

Another good tip is to prepare for the next day the evening before. Gather all belongings, that need to be carried with you (for tomorrow’s errands or work), in a place near the door. Think of it as your launching pad. That way you won’t be running around in the morning, losing precious time, looking for your keys, grocery list, or an important work document. Assemble your clothes also. It helps to have a hook or special place for your daily wardrobe, complete with shoes, undergarments, and accessories. It is also helpful to make a “To Do” list of the things you hope to accomplish the next day. This will allow you to stay focused and achieve more daily.

If the computer is taking time away from your family or chores, designate a set time for checking emails, doing research, etc. Carving out a specific time to be on the computer will allow you to be a little more disciplined.

Set goals, and then break those goals down into manageable tasks. For instance, I want to find more venues for my freelance writing, so each day, I make it a goal to check out one new lead, in addition to keeping up with the writing assignments that I already have.  This way, I am always moving forward with my plans for writing more.

Be wary of things that take you off course. The greatest thief of our time, can be good things that have nothing to do with our true calling. We will waste valuable energy and time on things that are not central to our purposes and dreams. Let’s face it, our time is our most valuable possession, because time is life. We can never get back the time we have wasted. It’s gone forever, so it is vital to make the most of each and every day.

Another important tip is to delegate whenever possible. This can apply to business or personal life. It has always been difficult for me to turn over tasks to others, but when I choose wisely which ones to delegate, my life advances with greater ease. This has even proven very helpful in the care of my elderly mom. I was trying to do everything myself, and finally asked family members for help. Even a few designated tasks can make a huge difference!

Learning to say no can also help with time management. Carefully choose the projects that you will become involved with, and make sure that your home life is not suffering as a result. Don’t let others pressure you into accepting tasks that you don’t have time for, and are not really interested in.

Organize, organize, organize! An organized home and workplace will save you lots of time, and it is worth the effort, in order for things to run smoothly. Take a little time each day to organize your surroundings, so that your life runs more efficiently.

Don’t forget to include things in your life that bring you pleasure. Life is not all about work, and achieving goals. It is also about experiencing happiness and relaxation. Sit in a cozy chair and read a good book, go out to a nice restaurant, light some candles, play some soothing music, watch a movie, play with children, take a walk in a park,  or soak in a warm bath. All of these activities add to our enjoyment of life, and contribute to our creativity. These are the things that make all our other efforts worthwhile.

In the end, it’s the choices that we make daily that make up a lifetime of love and laughter, or drudgery and monotonous routine. Begin to live your life with purpose, and you will treasure every precious moment…


Please read other articles that I have written here:




  1. Perhaps the best solution for managing our time better is to try and manage less of it. That means doing less. If we can simplify our lives, we can reduce the amount of to-dos we have to manage. If you are having to work while on the treadmill, something isn’t right.

  2. John: You’re so right. I guess fishing off the river bank, just for the sake of fishing, isn’t done much these days. LOL! (Not without a dictation machine or a cell phone in hand.) We’re always multi-tasking, instead of just enjoying the activity. I agree with you-we do need to simplify our lives. I usually either just watch TV (to take my mind off the exercise), or talk to my husband (while he’s next to me) on his exercise bike. It has actually become a very good time for discussing our days! Thanks for your comment. Lonnette

  3. Time Management Tip:

    Learn to Speed Read – I wish I had learned this tip before I finished the bulk of my college education. This one tip might have given me back a year or so of my life. In today’s competitive society it is hard to keep up with all the information pouring in unless we can speed read. People are also very impressed with speed readers and see them as more intelligent (simply because they can’t do it). I used a software program called “Eye-Q” – it currently sells for around $200, and is well worth the price. You can buy a Deluxe Edition for about $250 with 10 licenses. This entire course is 12 sessions of 7-minutes each! Do the math, you’ll be speed-reading in under an hour and a half worth of training. With this amount of training, it’s typical to double your reading speed, some people do significantly better. The other course to try is the classic Evelyn Woods program, but it’s slower (and I hate that!) You can attend a class either in person or online, or you can buy a DVD and video set, but it is very expensive (I hate that too!) (approximately $700).

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