Another New Year Already

Well. Here it is. January 2022. Can you believe we entered another new year already? Another new year often brings a desire for improvement or change over the way we did things the previous year. We make plans and set goals. Maybe we start out strong. However, more times than not, our strong start slows down. Perhaps it even stops altogether, and we are no further along in reaching our goals than we were at the start of the year before.

stack of booksOver the years, I have read books and articles on how to be a better steward of my time. Some of the suggestions I tried. Some I thought about trying. Some I didn’t even consider trying. Some proved helpful. Some did not.

All this striving to understand how to work smarter not harder has taught me several things. Number one, each of us works best to our own strengths. For that to happen, we must understand what our individual strengths and weaknesses are. We must understand our own personalities. What works for one may not work for another.

writing in journalSomething I’ve found that helps me evaluate my priorities is to keep a record of how I spend my time.

This can be a sheet of paper, a journal, a calendar, a small notebook. Whatever you will actually use.

Here I write down how I spend my time in 15- to 30-minute increments. In addition to writing down how I spend my time, at the bottom of each day, I write the initials S, H, L, R, W.

For me, those letters stand for Spiritual, Health, Life, Relationships, Writing. Your letters can be whatever is important to you. When I spend my time doing something that falls into one of those categories, I circle the letter. A quick glance at the letters shows me the areas I’m neglecting, as well as the areas I’m prioritizing.

Of course, life happens and interferes with our best-laid plans, so we need to give ourselves grace when necessary.

I’m not a big social media, telephone, or television person, so those things don’t steal much of my time, but I am a huge procrastinator. That’s when writing down how I spend my time in increments helps me.

set goals

Several years ago, I heard about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Have you heard of the term?

S stands for specific. Be specific. That way you will know if you met your goal.

M stands for measurable. Are you making progress toward your goal?

A stands for attainable. Do you have the skills, ability, and resources to achieve the goal?

R stands for realistic. Is it something you can achieve?

T stands for time-bound. Can you accomplish the goal in the time set?

Have you set a specific goal you can measure that you are able to attain realistically within a set deadline?

While I try to follow this pattern, I don’t always succeed. My problem is overestimating what I can realistically attain in a set period.

There you have a few suggestions for being a good steward of your time as we enter another new year. What would you add?

I wish you well,


Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sandy Kirby Quandt is a follower of Jesus with a passion for history and travel. Passions that often weave their way into her stories and articles. She writes articles, devotions, and stories for adult and children publications both print and online. Her devotions appear in So God Made a Dog, Let the Earth Rejoice, and Short and Sweet Too. Sandy has won multiple awards for her writing, including several years in the Young Adult category of the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out her blog at

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