Filtering by Tag: time management

It's Not About Getting More Done

We can't do everything.  That ought to be obvious, but it's not.  Most of us are generally overly ambitious about what we can accomplish in a given day.  It seems that proof of this statement is found in the fact that though we have been given every increasingly convenient tools and gadgets for all of life's tasks--like microwaves, telephones, cars, electric washers, dryers, dishwashers, freezers, computers, airplanes, lawnmowers, cell-phones, printers, copiers, and the Internet--we actually feel that we have less and less time!  We have certainly taken advantage of the convenient and efficient machinery of our times but only to do more. In spite of all our breakthroughs, we will never be able to accomplish all that could be done or all that we would wish, want, desire, or like to do, or even at times all that must be done.

Thus, there are two admissions we must make.

The first means humbling ourselves.  It says, "I am not God, I do not run the world."  In fact, God created us to make sure that we know this: He created us with a inbuilt pattern of required sleep every night and He commanded us to take one day for rest out of seven, a Sabbath.  Furthermore, we are not in control of most of the variables of our lives or even our day.  The unexpected happens.  Things take longer than we thought.  We don't get done all that we wanted to and we feel defeated.  CJ Mahaney wisely states: "Only God gets His to-do list done every day." Amen.

So we humble ourselves.  We are bound by time.  I think it was Vince Lombardi, the famed Green Bay Packers coach, who said something to the effect: "I never lost a game, I just ran out of time."  It happens to all of us.  We are not only bound by time, we are also under the sovereign reign of God.  Now, this is good new not bad but it does mean we must yield and humble ourselves.  We must take what we plan to do before Him, and we must thank Him for what we get done.  He's God, we're not.

Secondly, we must make choices.  The short limits of time and the long list of tasks demand that decisions must be made.  We choose what TO DO and we choose what NOT TO DO.  This is called prioritizing.  So we must choose what we will do and then do it with all our might till it is done.  This means focus and lots of it.  Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and other wonderful tales, said, "perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things." Amen.

Time Well Spent: Things We Will Never Regret Doing

family-walk_croppedIt has often been said that when it comes your time to die, you will never say, "man! I wish I would have spent more time in the office!"  This modern proverb is certainly true.  Nevertheless, most of us aren't hanging around the office too late anyways, it's other things that take our time.  No doubt many of you on occasion sit and feel the guilt of wasted time.  Perhaps you've just spent too much time online, tweeting, Facebook, or surfing.  Or, perhaps you've spent too many hours watching the Tube.  Whatever it is, you feel guilty, and you regret losing those forever irretrievable slices of time; moments that are now gone, and never to be regained. Perhaps it would be helpful to reverse the problem, and ask, "what are those things that we have never regretted doing?"  In other words, what are those things that we do, that we look back and say, "that was time well spent?"  Maybe the answer to this question can point us to re-examine our priorities and help us to re-adjust how we use our time starting today.

So would you ever sigh and say, "what have I done?  I have totally wasted my time!  I hate myself, I will never do that again!" IF YOU:

  • Completed one thing, not everything, just one, around the house that needed done?
  • Put in a full day's worth of hard work earning the money you're paid?
  • Spent an hour a day learning a new skill or subject?
  • Took one night a week to go earn that degree you've always wanted?
  • Spent an evening putting together your resume?
  • Spent an evening preparing your information for your will (you will need it someday)?
  • Gathered your unused junk sitting around the house and sold it on eBay?
  • Finally cleaned up that big mess in your basement, garage, attic, or backyard?
  • Took an hour (or two, or three) documenting all your financial information (accounts, plans, etc.)?
  • Called a friend and encouraged them?
  • Wrote someone a thank you note?
  • Spent one afternoon a month golfing with close friends?
  • Met once a week with good friends over a hot meal at a local restaurant?
  • Open your doors and invited the new couple at church over for dinner?
  • Finally approached that person you've been estranged from and reconciled with them?
  • Refused to say a word (you shut up) when you had the opportunity to put someone down?
  • Took a walk, jog, or a hike on a beautiful Spring day?
  • Walked across the road and met your neighbor?
  • Prepared a meal and delivered it to an elderly person living alone?
  • Showed up for church prayer meeting or pre-service prayer and prayed?
  • Took an hour to explain the Gospel to a friend?
  • Spent an extra 30 minutes after service listening to someone else talk about their life?  And encouraging them?
  • Spent a day working on a fundraiser for missions?
  • Read a really, good novel?
  • Read a really, good Christian book on something like prayer, fasting, or God, of Jesus (that would be good!)?
  • Took your spouse on a date?
  • Spent an hour with your family, your children, your parents, etc. over a meal?
  • Spent another hour with them playing board games?
  • Spent another hour (or ten minutes!) praying with them?
  • Spent an hour with your kids in the back yard or wrestling in the floor?
  • Spent an hour reading the Bible?
  • Spent 10 minutes a day memorizing Scriptures?
  • Spent 20 minutes in prayer?

So, would you hate yourself for doing any of these things?  Sure, you can't do everything, and you can't do all of these things on a given day, or even in the same week.  And obviously, too much of a number of these items might well be wasted time, but with balance I just don't think that these would the kind of guilt-inducing activities that we often spend time on.  You probably could do a lot more of this stuff than we have come to expect out of ourselves, it's just a matter of priority.  Those of you who know me, now I'm in the same lump with you all!  Can anybody else say, "it's me, it's me, it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer?"

Have You Seen My Time? - Some Resources on Getting Things Done

lost_in_sands_of_time"Hi, my name is Chad, and I am a time-loser."  Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever feel the crunch of too many things to do and not enough time to do them in?  Or, do you ever feel exasperated at having almost zero personal or spare time? Scripture tells us to "redeem the time," and we are to be efficient with out time, working hard and getting good things done.  On the other hand, one of the Ten Commandments is to "keep the Sabbath," which is a principle we often forget and ignore in our zest for filling every day with activity.  But we need rest!  You know it and your body, mind, and soul know it!

We often say, "time is money," but it is much more than that.  Money can be put in the bank and saved for a rainy day.  Time cannot.  It must spent moment by moment, second by second, day by day.  This is really about getting things done, not time management, because you can't manage time, you can only use it.

I am certainly no expert at getting things done, in fact, I really, really struggle with this.  However, as a pilgrim on this journey of life and work I am trying to learn.  I want to point you to a few good resources that I use to help keep me motivated, learning, and growing when it comes to the spending of my time.  Hopefully, we can help one another!

BOOKS

Here are some of the most oft-recommended books on the subject.  I've got the first two, and would like have the other two as well.  That's what a wishlist is for.

WEBSITES

  • The Simple Dollar often has articles related to how we use our time, in addition to tons of stuff on personal finance and frugality.
  • What's Best Next is all about how we use our time, manage projects, and more.

A FEW KEY ARTICLES & LECTURES

I will be following this article up with more tidbits on priorities, spending time, and getting things done.

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