This weekend, most Americans will undergo a time change. With daylight savings time ending, we fall back one hour, regaining the sleep we lost in the spring. Some of us may relish the extra time, but for many, time will march on regardless of what time zone we’re in. As I was thinking about time, the shorter days and how we might maximize it, I found many references that show just how precious a resource time is.
Time cannot be traded, given away or reinvested. Once gone, time slips away as the clock rolls on. Time is also an equal opportunity commodity; we are all working under the same non- replenish-able resource, no matter our grade, title or social status.
But what do time and daylight savings have to do with us as public servants? Plenty. Each day we wake up to a finite amount of time. In this 24-hour cycle, we pick and choose what we do. All choices involve sacrifice. So as we enter the time of year where the days seem shorter and the nights a bit colder, let us keep in mind that time can be on your side. Here are five ways to make the most of your time:
1. Set goals and stick to them. Take the time each week, or as you begin each day, to write out what it is that you want to get done. Set your goals based on what really matters and steer clear of daily distractions. Mark off what you’ve accomplished; this action is both concrete and fulfilling when time seems to have evaporated.
2. Find your focus. Get to know yourself and work with, not against, your natural tendencies. If you are a morning person, tackle the tough stuff first. If you get distracted by email, turn off notifications and establish a specific time to check and respond to email. Put the cell phone away; if you’re like me and have teenagers, you know how addictive social media can be (for all of us)!
3. Get into a groove. We are creatures of habit, so take time for work, play and rest. But go a bit further and schedule time for your daily doses of self-maintenance just as you might for that all-important meeting or project deadline. Stick to a schedule when it comes to sleeping and rising. Build in time for a walk, a chat with a friend or a good meal with your family. But keep it routine.
4. Plan it out. We are more efficient and relaxed when we know what to expect. Chart your course for the week so that by the time the weekend rolls around, you have taken care of your priorities, understand what’s going on around you and can better anticipate the unexpected.
5. Be prepared yet flexible. All the planning and prepping in the world cannot prevent the ‘what-ifs’ that might arise in a day. Understand what is urgent and important and tackle that first. Figure out if you can say no to the “fire hot” intrusion or leverage the time around the tense situation. Don’t go it alone, and understand that help may be just around the corner. And have some block time, or down time, to recover from the crisis and learn from it.
Remember that “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it” and time binds us together like no other resource. Author Rick Warren mentions this statement in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, and he reminds us that “your time is your life.” So, make the most of it. Remember to set your clocks back one hour this weekend! Time can be on your side.
Stacie Rivera is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.