Of course you've heard this before, but it bears repeating: Each of us has the exact same amount of time as everyone else. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks in a year. If time is money, we're all getting the same paycheck.
What if we looked at our time with the following grid?
Each day has three blocks of time; morning, afternoon, and evening. Each week has seven days. In one week you have 21 time blocks with which to build your life. Pretty simple.
When my wife and I looked at this several years ago, what really affected how we were using our time was when we started to "X" out blocks in the above chart. Each Sunday we looked at the coming week and gave blocks the X if they were particularly stressful or brought us out of our normal daily rhythm. We learned that one X a day is about all our family can handle. Similarly, if we're Xing more than 5 blocks in a week, we all get pretty stressed and the end results aren't good.
I purposefully am not going to define what an X looks like for our family, because I think it is different for everyone. I want you to think through what it looks like for you. What would cause you to X out a time block?
The next question is: How many blocks can you X out each week and still have a sane life and family that is glorifying to God? (The question is NOT how many blocks do you follow Jesus with? The answer to that question is ALL of them.) It's probably worth thinking about because I guarantee you cannot X out 21 blocks and live to tell about it.
Thanks to John Pearson for the 21 time block concept in his Management Buckets book. This is an updated repost from a similar blog in 2011.