“I’m so busy…
I don’t know if I’m coming or going!”
I can’t breathe.”
I can’t remember my own name!”
I’m just trying to keep my head above water.”
And getting so far behind, I’ll never catch up!”
I’m up to my ears.”
I’ve got way too much on my plate!”
I must admit. More than one of these have rolled off my tongue… many times. How about you?
In this series of posts on Time Management, we have presented “Time Management” as one of the biggest challenges women face today. We have also looked at “Time” through the lens of Scripture and discovered some amazing truths:
- Time is a precious gift – Created by our Good Father for us.
- God’s goodness and wisdom are behind the gift.
- It is only as we learn to live within His design for time that we are able to come to peace with it.
- Learning to discern the truly important things of life from the urgent is crucial.
- God longs for us to simply be with Him – This is the truly important.
- God, in His sovereignty, has given us enough time to accomplish His purposes for our life.
- Biblical Time Management is an act of stewardship.
- Biblical Time Management is self-management.
Time is not my enemy. It is a very precious gift from the One who adores me and desires that I live a life of abundance.
Frustration, “overwhelm,” stress, exhaustion – These are NOT from God. They are a result of my choices in relation to time.
So, HOW do I make the move to living within His design for time?
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV (bold added)
In Ephesians 5:16, the Greek for “making the best use” is exagorazō which translates redeem.
Redeem – to buy up, i.e. ransom; figuratively, to rescue from loss (improve opportunity) [Blue Letter Bible]
In that same verse, the word “time” is kairos, which means a fixed and definite time; an appointed time in the purpose of God; a God moment – a window of opportunity when God can act. A kairos moment occurs within chronological (chronos) time.
We begin by learning to be time redeemers. We set up “systems” for separating the truly important from the urgent. We take steps toward managing our time according to God’s design.
Here are three ways to help as we become time redeemers:
Time Management is about setting up and maintaining healthy, sustainable boundaries. Set limits. Figure out where to draw the line and DRAW IT.
Setting boundaries is personal. This is a daily decision that only you can make for yourself.
Boundaries are kept sustainable through knowledge of yourself and as you care for yourself in an appropriate and godly way.
Prioritizing is key to biblical time management.
We all have many things to do. However, the reality is we simply do not have the time and energy to do them all. Neither do we have the time, energy, or resources to do them equally well.
This popular story which often circulates on social media clearly makes the point of the importance of prioritizing:
A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, without a word he picked up an empty mason jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked his students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was full.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They chuckled and agreed that it was indeed full this time.
Next, the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health, and relationships. If all else was lost and only the golf balls remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.
If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.
One reason why prioritizing works is the 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 Rule states that 80 percent of our typical activities contributes less than 20 percent to the value of our work (life). It stands to reason then if we choose to focus on the 20 percent of our activities that yield the most value, we will have more time left for other important priorities.
When you sit down to prioritize the things on your schedule, put first things, first. Book time in your calendar for those things which are truly important, those things which are your priorities. Be careful not to let unimportant or urgent things steal away this time.
One good way to determine the truly important is to ask yourself questions as you prioritize:
- What does God want me to do?
- What does my calendar say?
- What is my calling?
- Where is God inviting me to join Him in His work?
- What are my responsibilities? (List them: child of God, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, etc.) Consider these first!
Here’s another great tip for prioritizing your schedule: (This one came from my son-in-law.)
Ask yourself, “If a week of my life were filmed and others were asked to watch it, what would they determine is the one thing I must get done?”
REMEMBER: NOT EVERYTHING THAT COMES FROM HEAVEN HAS YOUR NAME ON IT!!!
Frustration and exhaustion are the by-products of attempting to fulfill responsibilities God never intended for us to carry.
Freedom, joy, and fruitfulness come from seeking to determine the truly important priorities for each season of our life. Then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, all the while keeping in mind that God has provided us with the necessary time and ability to do everything that He has called us to do.
Jesus said, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has
enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)
Once our priorities have been determined, we need to make a plan. A plan provides structure and helps us to make the most of our time. Planning ahead can also keep us moving forward even when things go wrong.
Planning our time “is not about filling every moment with busy work, but rather organizing our time around what is important.” (Lolly Daskal)
Make your plan by writing your priorities into your schedule.
Set healthy, sustainable boundaries. Intentionally prioritize the truly important. Make a plan. — Three ways to become the “time redeemers” God has commanded us to be.
Next week in our final Managing Time God’s Way post, we will look at some specific planning systems.