Today’s blog is the final in our I’m Being Challenged By My Child series and we are going to be thinking about how we can stop being terrorised by time so that our family time can be all that it is meant to be.

Do you ever hear yourself saying the words: “Oh my goodness, I am so busy” or “I just don’t seem to have enough time anymore?” These are signs of being overly committed. It is at this point we start to wonder about time management and where/how we can manage it better. I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to manage the ticking of the clock. I can however manage what I fill my time with. The difference is massive and the challenge is significant – so we have to get it right.

The first important thing to remember is we are in control of what we choose to do and our family priorities. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but we are. Life often seems like it moves a lightening speed, but we have to take control and slow down.

The second thing to remember is that we have no control over the ticking clock, we can’t add in a couple more minutes to the hour. Once a moment in time has ticked away, it ain’t coming back. As such, we had better be outstanding stewards of what we fill our time with. Knowing that have we 100% control over ourselves means we have a powerful influence over this ‘time management’ dilemma.

So the question begs to be asked: how are you portioning out your allocated time? I found this question to be very confronting, as there seemed to be so many competing priorities and so many good reasons for each one. However, in conversation with a great friend I was able to honestly pinpoint where I was allowing myself to get lost in the “rush of life” and loose my sense of self-management. After this analysis, I readjusted my focus and life was no longer a mad rush, but rather a purposefully filled opportunity to enjoy life and everything I choose to be a part. It took quite some time to make the shift, but I am so much better off having done so.

How did I do it? Firstly I listed all the ‘things’ in my life which keeps me super busy. Then I put them into two piles. The first pile was for the things which, after talking though with my friend, were genuinely optional e.g. extra curricula events and the other pile were the things I had to do e.g. work.

Once I had made the final cut I began to focus on the ‘had to do’ list. I needed to make sure that I was allocating the right amount of effort and time to each item. This knowledge really helped me balance each one out. Then I reviewed the optional pile. With these, I had to evaluate what they really offered to my life as a whole. I needed to know the impact of their input. Anything that left me in a deficit either emotionally or physically was either out or significantly minimized. As a result I ended up with people, events and places which filled my whole life with goodness and increased my well being. The process took about a month to get right. I revisited the two lists about four times to make sure they were truly what I wanted. This month also allowed me to start the cull of the things I really didn’t need.

As a result I now have time to find ‘mountain top experiences’, time to wrap my arms around those I love and celebrate them. I have time to work hard and play hard. I have time to invest in learning and in developing others. Best of all, I don’t feel undone or overwhelmed by life, and when things get a bit hairy I have the clarity of mind to find those things which matter most and I have time to dwell on them with those I care for the most.

In all this, the one thing I know to be truer than true: The other ‘important things’ can wait – they always do.