In a previous article (5 Steps to Efficient Time Management), I dealt with making sure we keep our priorities on our calendar.
I want to continue that thought with five very practical principles that will help you become better equipped as a manager of the time God has given you.
1. Consult God First.
Realize that, when you asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord, He took you at your word. He now expects you to relate to Him as your Lord. This means you first ask Him about what He would like for you to do. If you don’t follow this policy, you may end up engaging in activities that lead to dead-ends and lost time – counter-productive to God’s plans for you.
God will help you make choices regarding how you invest your time, but only if you’ll acknowledge that your life is His to command. It’s not likely that He will waste time directing you if you are not willing to follow the directions He gives.
2. Take Time To Plan.
Some people like to ‘fly by the seat of their pants.’ They figure out what they’re going to do on the run – and often lack focus and accomplish little as a result. The Bible makes it clear that we should plan ahead. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5)
Consider your resources, your available time, your objectives, and then work out a logical, achievable plan. Plan your days, weeks, months and years ahead of time! Initiate things, rather than simply react to circumstances as they blow up around you!
3. Be Diligent.
Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘diligent’ as ‘characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort; painstaking.’ A person can make all the plans he wants, but if there is no diligent follow-through, it’s all for nothing.
4. Pursue Efficiency.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Things to consider: How can you do things better? Quicker? With greater return? Can you multiply your time by doing two things at once? Can you delegate some things?
5. Avoid Burn-out: Get Some Rest.
It is possible to get too diligent and efficient, trying to schedule every available minute for productivity. But God makes it clear that rest is also an important priority that we must not forget! In fact, He thought it so important, He places His thoughts on the subject in a rather conspicuous place: The Ten Commandments! (Read Exodus 20:8-11).
So, as you are filling your calendar, be sure to schedule in some ‘islands of refreshing’ for yourself. Take a little time each day to relax (many very productive people – including Winston Churchill, Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison – took a nap every afternoon!). Take it easy on Sunday. Schedule a day every month or two to get alone with God in a secluded place. Plan your family vacations well in advance, so they don’t get crowded out. Make sure that bubble bath concoction you bought still works. Schedule a secret rendezvous with your spouse. go for a walk in the woods. Stop and smell the roses from time to time. Be diligent and efficient about resting!
Do you practice any other great ways to manage time you want to share?