Time—The Stuff Life is Made Of
Five Tips on Finding More of It
by Anita Higman
Benjamin Franklin said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
Okay, I don’t know anyone who gets up in the morning with the idea of squandering their time, and yet we all do it. At the end of the day, we wonder how all those precious hours slipped away. Where did they go? But, the time is indeed gone, and there’s no getting it back.
However, there is good news. We can train ourselves to use our time more wisely. I am not a time management expert. However, I am an author, and that has forced me to work a little smarter, since with each passing year, I’m expected to help out more and more when a book is released. That is, more participation in a publisher’s promotional efforts. More social media. More blogging. More out-of-the-box marketing. More everything.
With some tweaks, though, in my management of time, I have more hours for promotion, more time to spend with my grown kids, and even more time for refreshment, such as those empty-nester vacations. So, here are my five tips for organizing that precious thing called time.
Tip Number 1: You’re Not Superman
I think it’s vital to accept this truth—WE CANNOT DO EVERYTHING. It’s not humanly possible anyway. To think otherwise will only make us perpetually angry or make other people perpetually angry at us. Or we’ll be fatigued all the time or make ourselves ill trying to be super author or super anything. Also, when it comes to donating our time (even to good causes) we need to be discerning. Sometimes the word “no” is appropriate, even though it might be uncomfortable to say it. So, after we accept our limitations, and we’re able to choose our extracurricular activities wisely, we’ll automatically have more time for what’s important.
Tip Number 2: Delegate is a Beautiful Word
What daily tasks could be delegated to other folks, either with the help of volunteers or with a bit of part-time paid assistance? For instance, I pay a webmaster to manage my website as well as some of my other online sites. My husband helps me with some of my smaller jobs that I no longer have time for. Do you know someone who can assist you, say, a few hours a week?
Tip Number 3: Multitasking Still Works
When I watch a movie with my husband, I use that time for a potpourri of boring and time-consuming tasks, such as sewing on buttons, ironing clothes, or bleaching my teeth. I might let a clay mask dry on my face, jump on a mini-trampoline, do floor stretches, put an icepack on my back if it’s inflamed from a long day at the computer, fold laundry, or anything else I can think of to do that might otherwise consume my time unnecessarily. I admit, though, that if it’s a movie I haven’t seen yet, or a new episode of Downton Abbey, then I may sit and enjoy it, calling it a special treat. But if it’s a rerun or a movie I’ve seen before, then I pull out my various ta-do chores.
Tip Number 4: Cook Smart
When making meatloaf or spaghetti or other dishes that freeze well, make extra, enough for several dinner-sized portions to thaw and heat on evenings when you’re out of groceries. Also, while I’m just standing there cooking and tending the evening meal, I might mull over a few manuscript page, or scribble notes on a proposal or brainstorm some book titles.
Tip Number 5: What to do With All That Waiting!
Right now, I’m sitting in the dentist’s office, and I’m busy writing this very article on time management while I’m waiting. I’m utilizing a personal writing tool called the Neo 2. I take this small, handy device with me when I think I might end up playing “the waiting game.” Also, if I’m standing in a long line, I sometimes read a book. There are so many possibilities. When we’re in traffic we can listen to an audio book or a CD that builds vocabulary words or that teaches a language. Try brainstorming fresh ways to use what could potentially become “lost hours” in the future. Yes, be wise with your time, because as Benjamin Franklin said, “That’s the stuff life is made of.”
Anita Higman is a CBA best-selling and award-winning author. Among her many accolades, Higman has won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award twice. She has written or co-authored more than 30 books, including fiction and non-fiction for adults and children, as well as plays. Higman has also been recognized for her contributions to literacy and has raised thousands of dollars with her book I Can Be Anything while serving on the board of directors of Literacy Advance of Houston.
Even though she’s written in many genres, Higman does have her favorite. “I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.” Her latest release is A Marriage in Middlebury.
She loves good movies, exotic teas and brunch with her friends. Higman and her husband live in Houston, TX.
To keep up with Anita Higman, visit anitahigman.com, become a fan on Facebook (Author Anita Higman) or follow her on Twitter (@anitahigman).