Balancing Our Time in a Virtual World
In this age, we are all busy. So many things are competing for our time and many of them are good things.
We all need a balance of work, family, religion and recreation to be healthy and happy. When every moment counts, one of the most important things we can do is to take a step back and evaluate what we are doing and how our time and talents are allotted.
Even within each category, we should evaluate whether we are managing our time wisely and are we spending our time and energy on what matters most.
In this time of instant communication and social media, we can allow time to slip away before we know it. There are good ways to spend our time and resources, there are better ways to spend our time and resources and there is the best way to spend our time and resources.
We each only have a certain amount of time on this earth and we each have a different allotment of talents and resources. We all have the same amount of hours in each day and we each have a choice of how we are going to spent it.
You’ve probably heard many people say, “God first, family second, work third and everything else will fall into place.” I totally agree with this statement, so now within each category, how will you spend that time?
If you don’t plan your life, someone else will. There will always be family members, friends, acquaintances and organizations that are looking for people and resources to fulfill their needs and their dreams.
Before committing to anything, it is wise to take time to evaluate…does this activity or opportunity align with my own dreams and goals and is this what God has called me to do?
Even in Church, we can get so busy that we can’t hear God trying to communicate with us. God has called each one of us for specific purpose and do we know what that purpose is? Are we fulfilling that purpose?
In the workplace, we each have specific responsibilities and we each have different talents. Are we utilizing our talents and resources wisely? Have we set regular goals and strategized with steps to reach those goals?
What about personally? According to our specific purpose, talents and abilities, do we have a career that revolves around those abilities? Do our careers align with our God given purposes?
At home, it is becoming more and more difficult to devote adequate attention to our families because every family member is going in a different direction and our meals are on the run.
Are we the proper role models for our families? Do we put a priority on our families or do we allow other things to creep into our family time? Do we spend more time on social media such as Facebook than with our family and children? …or are we glued to “the tube” and can’t miss our favorite TV shows or those ballgames instead of spending quality time with our families?
We’ve become a virtual society between living our lives through other people with our television shows and involving ourselves in social medial, texting and email 24-7. If we are not careful, our lives are taken over at home and at work.
We must have a deliberate plan.
Hardly anyone one can deny that social media is now a very important part of our lives and many of us operate our personal lives and our businesses revolving around social media.
Social media, in itself, is a good thing.
There are also other good ways to spend our time, but we all know that too much of any good thing is unhealthy. Striving for moderation in everything can be very good for our lives.
We all love salt, but too much salt can be unhealthy. We have to eat to live, but too much food can be unhealthy and lead to obesity.
Likewise, social media and television can bring much enjoyment to our lives, but too much social media and television can be bad for us so it’s okay to break away and be off-line. In fact, it is necessary so we can “have a life” during our home and family time and also in the workplace to be able to fulfill our other career responsibilities on the job.
Here are 6 tips to streamline your time with social media, communication and your virtual world:
1) Take some time and make a list of where your time is currently being spent and if you are not happy with your current plan, make plans to allocate it differently.
2) Let your friends, family and business associates know that you will not be available 24-7 – that you will check your messages periodically and get back with them.
3) Make it a habit to check email and text messages every couple of hours instead of minute to minute. Unless it is an emergency, most people are okay with getting back to them in a reasonable amount of time.
Note: If your career revolves around direct sales or similar responsibilities, you may have to take calls and check messages more often because you do not want to miss a sale because you did not get back with your prospective customer soon enough.
4) If you utilize social media, use the same process – determine up front how much time per day you will allot to social media – check your message and posts only a few times a day instead of being online all of the time – day and night.
5) Organize your social media posts utilizing programs like HootSuite or Tweetdeck that allow you to post to multiple social media accounts at the same time.
6) Turn off the television and go outside. There is a real world that you are missing while you are living in a virtual world.
It’s all about priorities and it’s all about balance. We are in a society where everything is out of balance and it can be a daily struggle for balance in our lives and careers.
By strategically evaluating our lives, we can set goals, a strategic plan and boundaries so that when an opportunity arises, you can put the opportunity to the test: 1) Is this a good, better or best way to spend my time, talents or energy? 2) Does this opportunity align with my life, family and career plan? 3) Will this opportunity help me reach my goals? 4) Is this something I am called to do?
It’s okay to say no to activities that present themselves even if they are in the good and better categories to free up our time and resources to use them for the best way they can be spent.
Dona Bonnett is a business & marketing coach and consultant specializing in business start-ups and companies that would like to grow. If you would like to talk with Dona to see how she could help you and your business, please contact her at 256.345.3993.