This series about creating a roadmap for better manhood now moves to another critical skill for men: time management. While not inherently gender-specific, good time management helps men be better men. It makes them more productive, reduces their stress, and helps them achieve their goals in life. It also helps them manage their idle time, avoid the many distractions that can derail them, and keep their priorities straight.
“It is better to build strong boys than fix broken men.”-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, Frederick Douglass (1818-1985)
This insight from Frederick Douglass is prophetic. Today, there are too many immature boys who became broken, bored, and distracted men. With too much idle time on their hands and missing the skills to manage their life, they lack the maturity to be good and proper men who lead productive and satisfying lives. However, when we turn young males into mature men, everyone will benefit. This is how we can change the optics of today’s manhood, the main point of this series.
Building the Road(map)
As you’ve read in my previous posts in this series about creating a roadmap to better manhood, the maturation of a boy or young male begins once he knows his Identity. This gives him a Purpose during his time on Earth. The influence of his environment (family, friends, culture) also helps to shape his Worldview, which then impacts how he uses his Masculinity. These bedrock beliefs of identity, purpose, and worldview, set the direction for how a male uses his masculinity to show up as a mature man or not.
As I construct this road though, I’m realizing we can apply a process to maturing a male into a good and proper man. It’s the process of evaluation for how a young male must First, Manage Himself Well which includes:
- Setting Goals
- Developing Good Habits
- Learning to Prioritize
- Developing Self-Discipline
- Seeking Feedback
- Learning from Mistakes
- Being Self-Aware
I’m also seeing that this process applies to each of the man skills I’m describing in this series which I will begin to group as hard and soft skills. In previous posts, I described how a maturing young man needs to learn the skills of Money Management and Good Personal Hygiene. After this post on Time Management, I will follow with some other hard skills related to Navigation & Transportation and Education & Employment. Later, I will cover some soft skills of behavioral, emotional, and spiritual management, which can impact a man’s relationships, career, and legacy.
All that said, let’s move on to the skill of time management.
What is Time Management?
Time management is the practice of using your time wisely to get things done. It involves consciously and efficiently organizing and utilizing your time to achieve the desired outcomes. Time management improves productivity and helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s a valuable skill that benefits all aspects of your life, including personal, academic, and professional.
Poor time management increases our feelings of being stressed. It increases anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, which often occurs when we have a lot to do and not enough time. But when we learn to manage our time well, we will feel more in control. It will also create more free time for the most important things in life.
That sure sounds very basic, but it is sad to see how much time men of all ages waste each day… me included!
The reality is we all have limited time on this earth so why not manage it well?
The Importance of Time Management
The basic skills of time management include
- Setting goals
- Prioritizing tasks
- Creating a schedule
- Avoiding distractions
- Learning to say ‘No’
Good time management requires identifying what tasks are urgent and most important, then focusing on completing the highest priorities first. When you can confidently say ‘No’ to requests or tasks that are not essential, you don’t over-commit yourself. It helps you avoid distractions, excessive use of social media, unnecessary meetings, and overworking.
When you learn to manage your time more effectively, it actually helps you create more free time. And who doesn’t want more free time?!
Free Time Allows Rest and Relaxation
In addition to feeling more in control and getting more things done, practicing good time management actually allows for more rest, which is beneficial for everyone. Taking regular time for relaxation and rejuvenation is essential for your overall well-being and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Here are some reasons why rest is important for men:
- Physical and mental rejuvenation: Continuous work and responsibilities take a toll on both physical and mental health. Taking a designated day or period of rest allows you to recharge, reduce stress, and replenish your energy levels.
- Improved productivity: Resting and recharging regularly actually enhances productivity in the long run. When men take time to rest and recuperate, they return to their work or home responsibilities with increased focus, clarity, and creativity.
- Enhanced relationships: Men need to spend quality time with family, friends, and loved ones. It allows for meaningful connections, strengthening relationships, and nurturing social support networks. Make some time to reconnect with your closest friends!
- Reflection and self-awareness: Taking time for introspection, self-reflection, and self-awareness. Men should use this time to evaluate their goals, values, and priorities to ensure they remain aligned with their overall well-being and personal growth.
- Increased creativity: Stepping away from the routine and demands of work can stimulate creativity and problem-solving abilities. During rest, men can engage in activities they enjoy, pursue hobbies, or explore new interests, fostering fresh perspectives and innovative thinking.
- Work-life balance: Men often face pressure to fulfill multiple roles and responsibilities in their personal and professional lives. Rest helps to establish a healthy balance, allowing them to focus on the important aspects of life.
- Prevention of burnout: Consistently pushing oneself without rest can lead to burnout. Rest acts as a preventive measure against burnout, helping you maintain physical, emotional, and mental well-being for the long term.
The basic man-skills of time management help you set goals, prioritize tasks, create a schedule, and avoid distractions. They help you identify what is most important and stay on track to make sure you have enough time for everything you need to do. They also help you avoid over-committing yourself and preserve your valuable time for rest and relaxation to best mange the stress and anxiety of adult life.
Tips to Manage Your Time
Like all skills, time management takes a while to master and requires personal discipline. Ultimately, you must find the strategies and tools that work best for your unique circumstances and goals. But here are some tips to help you manage your time effectively:
- Use a weekly or daily planner – Use a paper or digital calendar to keep track of all of your tasks, assignments, projects, deadlines, meetings, and appointments. There are numerous apps you can download like To-Doist, Microsoft Outlook, or Apple Calander. Personally, my wife and I use Google Calander. We have shared to keep each other informed of our schedules. But we also maintain separate calendars in the app for those things not as critical to our family.
- Make a “To-Do” list – Use a digital app or paper list for all the things that you have to get done. Include tasks and assignments with due dates for those due within a month, within a week, or for the day. Again, apps like To-Doist are helpful but there are times when a bunch of Post-It Notes helps.
- Prioritize your day – Identify the things that are most important and which can wait to help you get the more important things done first. Put the most important at the top of your list each day. Keep First Things First!
- Set reminders on your phone – Don’t miss a deadline by setting a notification or reminder. It seems like most people have a smart watch or phone with them at all times. Be diligent about putting things in your calendar with an alarm.
- Use your free time wisely – Today, we waste a lot of time spending hours watching TV, skimming our social media apps, or browsing the internet. Limit yourself to one of your favorite shows or 30 minutes on your phone. Turn the devices off or put them away. Spend time with loved ones or friends in that time or work on your “To Do” list until you can cross off another item.
- Organize your spaces – It’s easy to get things done in a clean and clutter-free area both at home and at work. Don’t waste time looking through piles of stuff!
- Repeat Every Day – Cross off each item as you complete it and carry over only those essential to the next day. Add new tasks and appointments to your calendar. Continue with this process until you have completed your list. This is your personal discipline.
Good time management helps men be better men by helping them stay focused, improve their productivity, and increase their overall success in life. But good time management also provides more time for something called Sabbath rest, which many people need more of these days.
Sabbath rest is traditionally associated with religious observance to provide spiritual and emotional nourishment. For those who find value in the practice, it provides an opportunity to connect with their faith, engage in prayer, and meditate. It helps them come closer to God.
I will also emphasize that time management requires good boundaries and setting priorities. As I wrote in Re-Prioritizing My Priorities, one of the most important concepts for men is the need to have our priorities in order. That post suggests that you should pay attention to what you are thinking, where you spend your money —, and especially what you do with your time, to discover your real priorities.
So are you wasting time?
- Aside from doing the necessities, what do you do with the hours and days that make up your life?
- What do you do when you have free time? Do you rest or spend it on the Internet, Facebook, or TV?
- Who can you enlist to help you improve your time management skills?
Watch for my next post in two weeks. In the meantime, feel free to comment and share this post.