You have 1,440 minutes each day. How do you use them? People talk about managing money all the time. We also hear plenty about managing relationships. But it’s way too easy to miss or ignore the importance of time management. Yet, unlike money and relationships, this is the one commodity that we can never get back. So, let’s put time to work for us!
Contrary to what some people think, it’s possible to make the most of your time and care about people. The truth is, we need to care about time because we care about people. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. To make people important, we have to prioritize the time we spend with people.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV says it well, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
So, here are a five people-first time management tips:
- Talk about time. When a time is set for your meeting with your mentee, let them know how much time you have. If your appointment is at lunch and you have an hour, tell them. “I am looking forward to our lunch. I have until 1:00 today to visit.” That way, they know how much time you have to offer.
- Keep track of time. If your or your mentee’s time is tight, try setting an alarm on your phone to let you know when to end the meeting. Again, communicate in advance and this won’t feel awkward.
- It’s not just your time. If your mentee is late, that doesn’t automatically mean you have to go past the time you have scheduled. It’s not just your time and their time involved. Think big picture about who’s time you’re taking if you spend more time on this conversation. Sometimes it might be worth it, but often you really do need to meet someone else or be with your family.
- Set parameters. Don’t meet indefinitely. You could say, “Let’s meet every other week for two months and see how things progress.” Then, after that period, evaluate together to determine if you are making progress. This ensures the ability to “opt out” if you don’t feel your time is being used effectively. At the same time, be patient as the relationship grows.
- Maintain margin. Growth-oriented conversations can sometimes create a life of their own. It’s never a bad idea to build some margin into your schedule. For example, plan to meet for an hour, try to finish in an hour, but block out an hour and half just in case you need it. Because sometimes you’ll need it to really pour into someone’s growth.