Living a full and meaningful life begins with improving your utilization of the precious commodity called Time.

We begin the year with resolutions to lose weight, get a promotion, or save a certain amount of money. Rarely do we make resolutions related to improving our management of time. But getting serious about better utilizing your time can lead to personal fulfillment and a life with more meaning.

Think of Stewarding Time as Investing a Precious Commodity

It helps to think of time as an investment rather than something you spend. Here are three things to consider as you intensify your focus on the important concept of “investing” time in what matters most to you.

Rank the seven priorities listed below in order, from most to least important:

  • spiritual and ethical
  • family and home
  • health and fitness
  • mental and educational
  • social and cultural
  • career and business
  • finance and money

Set goals and develop action steps. Goals should be set in each priority area, along with a few action steps necessary to accomplish the goals. Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals.

Plan daily. Your calendar will play a very important role here. Plan at the end of the month for the next month; at the end of the week for the next week, etc. Schedule your priorities on your calendar.

Getting comfortable with this process will take time. Nevertheless, the time you invest in improving time management should yield great results. You will find yourself working on and allocating time to the priorities that are most important to you. This will lead to a higher level of productivity, personal fulfillment and satisfaction.

Learn to Say “No”

Most people who ask you to make a commitment are, in a sense, salespeople used to hearing “no.” The average person is exhausted owning to an abundance of commitments and obligations, many of which they have little passion for.

We are challenged by the need to balance the many competing priorities in our lives. It can be difficult to refuse requests for fear of disappointing others. Most of us struggle with saying “no.” However, focusing on improving in this area and becoming more comfortable saying “no” can be liberating.

Evaluate each request you get against your top priorities. We each have only 24 hours a day. Life is short; it is critical that we not waste precious time attempting to please others while sacrificing our personal priorities.

Do you say “yes” to financial investment opportunities without sufficient research or study? I hope not, because doing so could result in serious financial instability and loss. The same is true for time—we need to value it and help others understand the importance of doing the same.

Try These Productivity Tips

Shutterstock offers the following list for using time more productively:

  1. Assess how you spend your time
  2. Create to-do lists
  3. Decide where each task fits on an urgency/importance grid. Put each task in one of the four boxes:
    1. Urgent and important (do these now)
    2. Important but not urgent (schedule these for the future)
    3. Urgent but not important (delegate if they don’t need your expertise)
    4. Not urgent, not important (take these off your plate)
  4. Schedule your time
  5. Limit time spent on email and social media
  6. Let technology help you avoid procrastination
  7. Set expectations with colleagues, family members and friends
  8. Incorporate breaks in your day
  9. Reward yourself for accomplishments

Getting clear on your priorities and allocating your time accordingly can make life easier and more enjoyable.

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