I remember reading about the “time turner” that Hermione uses in Harry Potter and the Prisoner or Azkaban. It was a necklace – an encased charm -that enabled the wearer to travel back in time, by a few hours, allowing her to do more in a day. And, at the time, this seemed absolutely genius – the answer to all my problems! But as I matured, I guess the idea of adding a few hours to my day so I could get more done felt more like a quick-fix. Do you know what I mean? By enabling me to move in time and extend my days by a few hours, that would help me that day, or that week, but really, I wouldn’t be learning the skills that I’d need for long-term time management. Does this make sense?

It’s like when I was enormously pregnant and my muscles were aching so much. The doctor said she could get me a support belt. But, she warned me that the support belt would take the place of the muscles in that area, and could cause muscle atrophy pretty quickly. I opted against the support belt, for long-term strength and support.

When we take hard things away, we lose, or at least lessen, the ability to do hard things in the future.

Same with a support belt, in my case.

Same with bulldozer parenting.

Same with quick weight-loss programs.

Same with a time-turner.

It was better for me to strengthen my core muscles during that last stretch of pregnancy to prepare me to carry myself after pregnancy. It is better for me to let my kids learn to talk to their teachers themselves, when they fail a test in school. It is better for me to love my body into shape. And it is better for me to learn time management now, that will create time for me the rest of my life.

Tyson Bradley, a time coach, actually said this on that topic:

“There’s ‘time management’, and then there’s the management of yourself within time.”

That is what I’m going for, right? So I’m going to stop calling it “time management”.

And Tyson has a few tips to help us today, in working toward managing ourselves within the time that we have:

  • We tend to store our to-do lists and our overwhelm and stress in our brains. But our brains aren’t meant to be large hard drives, to save these things. Our brains are meant to work as processors – in and out. I need to do that, and then I do that. Done.
    • Start using paper, a calendar or a computer as your hard drive. Get it out of your brain so you can use that energy toward doing and toward accomplishing something, rather than exerting that energy on remembering what we are supposed to be doing, and stressing about what we are supposed to be doing.
  • When you make a to-do list, or when you calendar your action items, make sure they are specific and small steps.
    • Jody is trying to write a book. She has on her calendar, Work on book. And she is not finding the time to do that.
    • Jody would have more success if, on her calendar she wrote, Open Word and edit the first paragraph.
  • Another thing with that to-do list, look at it and ask yourself, On a scale of 1-10, how likely am I to do this item? And if that item’s score isn’t high, reconsider it. Maybe make it a smaller item, leading toward your end goal. Again, Jody wasn’t likely to Work on book, but, on a scale of 1-10, she was probably an 8 or a 9, likely to Edit a paragraph. And, if not, she should maybe consider calendaring it in for a different day.
    • This practice builds trust with yourself in at least 2 ways.
      • FIRST, when I start doing everything on my to-do list, every day, I build that trust: I know that I will do what I have written on my to-do list.
      • SECOND, I also know that I will not put anything on my to-do list if I am not likely to do it. Do you see how it goes both ways?
  • Finally, consider your reason for doing what it is that you want to do with your time. What dreams do I have? And what if those dreams are there for a reason? Let the reasons inspire you into action, rather than suck your time and energy in stress.

On dreams, Tyson quotes a mentor of his:

“If you’ve been gifted with a desire for something, you’ve also been gifted with the ability to accomplish it.”

I want to close with some application. What does this look like for me?

I want to publish an article. That is my desire. And I like my reason for my desire – I want to build that relationship of trust with myself by setting goals and then accomplishing them, and I believe what I have to offer would help other people. Those are my reasons, and, again, I like those reasons.

Next, now that I know my desire and I like my reason, I will want to get the stress of accomplishing that goal out of my mind, and onto paper. And as I calendar out my do-goals for this particular desire, I will make sure that the do-goals, or my to-do items, are specific, and that I’m likely to do them on the day that I designate on my calendar. Let’s try it.

GOAL: By 7 September, I will have submitted my article to three different publications.


  • Wednesday, 26 August, I will pray for my writing angels to open my mind and inspire my heart. Then I will open Word and I will consider the six corrections Allison made to the article.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Wednesday is a 9.
  • Thursday, 27 August, I will take 1 hour to edit the first half of the article.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Thursday is a 9.
  • Friday, 28 August, I will take 1 hour to edit the second half of the article.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Friday is a 9.
  • Saturday, 29 August, I will print a semi-final draft, and ask Bry to make suggestions.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Saturday is a 7. It is more difficult to say with a certainty when my goal involves other people’s time.
  • Sunday, 30 August, I will work on the second semi-final draft, and I will send it on to Brittany to make suggestions.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Sunday is a 7.
  • I anticipate Brittany getting back to me within a few days, then I will type up the final draft.
  • Wednesday, 2 September, I will figure out how to submit the article to the different publications I have already researched.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Wednesday is a 10. Easy peasy.
  • I will sit on this for a day, to see if my writing angels have anything to contribute. Then I will make my submissions by Friday, 4 September.
    • Likeliness of doing this on Friday is a 7. I am nervous. But, if I follow each of these calendared items, I feel like I will be ready.

And that, my friends, is how I manage myself in the time that I have been given. That’s how I will use my time to accomplish my goals. Now notice, my goal isn’t to be published. That is, to a large extent, out of my hands. My goal is to submit my article – my best work from where I am at right now – for publication. That is entirely in my control. And doing just that will 1) improve my trust in myself, and 2) give me some valuable experience. I will have practiced setting an impossible goal and reaching it, and I will have practiced the discipline of setting impossible goals and do-goals, and accomplishing those goals.

Okay. This is a lot. This is helpful. This is creating.


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