Six years ago, Justin Timberlake starred in one of his first leading roles in a major motion picture, In Time. This movie tells the story of a young man in a futuristic world that has figured out how to use time as a currency. All humans stop aging at 25 but have a clock that counts down to the time of their death. Instead of working for money, people work to have minutes, hours, and days added to their internal clock as a way of extending life. All purchases are paid by a reduction of one’s time. The main message of the movie centers on the reality that in this system, the rich can essentially live forever, but only by leaving the poor to scrape by from payment to payment to extend one’s life. “Many must die for a few to be immortal,” we are reminded several times.
This movie highlights a benefit that we do not posses in the least bit. Time is the great equalizer. We all have the exact same amount of time in each day to tackle the tasks before us. And as someone who has recently been diving into the world of classical Christian education, I can’t help but have the feeling that I do not have enough time. I do not have enough time to go back and read all of the great books that my students are enjoying in a quick minute. I do not have loads of time to fully develop a deep understanding of classical pedagogy and philosophy in a few years. I simply do not have time to do all the things that I should do and want to do.
Although we cannot add time to our day, knowing and feeling this way should move us to continual assessment of where and how we spend our time, calculating how productive we are with the time we give to certain areas of our lives. In his book entitled Do More Better, Tim Challies defines productivity as “effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.” As a fairly new classical Christian educator, I contend it is well worth our time to think through our productivity.
We all have routines, processes, schedules, and organization habits that we have created. Sometimes these are created with little to no thought and, in evaluation, can be time trashcans. I would like to offer three little productivity tricks that I have implemented that save me buckets of time during the school year.
- Wunderlist: This app is open on my computer at all times and is used on my phone throughout the day. A virtual to-do list, Wunderlist is the way I keep track of all projects, tasks, and reminders that I need. One of the best features that it comes with is the ability to share lists. So for instance, I share a to-do list with my administrative assistant in which we add tasks for each other. This app saves me many minutes in my collection of tasks and organization of their importance.
- Evernote: This is your virtual journal. Also an app that I have open on my computer and stored on my phone, Evernote acts a whole bookshelf of your physical journals. I have never been able to grasp the journal concept, simply because when I need to write down notes or read previous notes in my journal, I never seem to have my journal near. With the ability to create multiple journals that house numerous notes, Evernote becomes your catch all for all information worth saving. Enabling users to search all of your notes, this app allows you to keep, find, and use worthwhile information, saving you previous time.
- Like with Like, and Every Place has a Home: This little quip comes from Challies’ book as a way to physically think about your desk and office organization. Every paper, book, tool, or note should have a designated place to go. Like should be with like as you organize and designate these places. When put into action in my office, this little statement really helped me clear my desk, and a clean desk provides a sense of comfort for me. Most importantly, this saves me time in multiple ways.
We all have the same amount of hours, minutes, and seconds in the day, so it is worth our time to figure out how to best use them. Better utilizing our time might create balance for the responsibility of being a classical Christian educator, but also that we might have more time to be a great spouse, parent, friend, and follower of Jesus.