We live in a time when the demands on our schedules are mounting faster than we can keep up with. Just when we feel we’ve gotten ahead, there are another ten things on our plate to take care of. As a father and husband, I know how it is, especially amid a pandemic. There are constant pressures on our time, making it hard to accomplish all the things that we need to do.
Time is precious. It is delicate and moves faster than we can catch it. God has granted it to us as a responsibility that we must be good stewards of. Time is not something to be taken lightly or to be wasted. Doing so is a grave sin, for there is much that God wishes for us to do. Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to “be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time” (ISV). Practicing good time management is instructed to us directly from scripture.
This is not to say we are to stay busy constantly: making time for those we hold most dear is very important and pleasing to the Lord as well. The simple moments count, too, perhaps more than the big ones. What we are protecting our day against is wastefulness. Whether big or small, everything we do must be serving the purpose to which God has called us to.
How do you protect your time and accomplish more?
Make a Schedule
It may sound simple, but making a schedule can be the most overlooked but most helpful way to take control of your day. Make it as detailed as need be so that you ensure you squeeze everything in. Seeing it all on paper (or your phone/computer) also helps you to see the bigger picture of your day from the outside. This perspective enables you to better understand what’s truly important for you to accomplish and what you may cut.
Learn How to Say No
Saying no is a difficult discipline to master. It is essential, though, because no matter how good our intentions, there’s only so much we can do.
Oftentimes, we can take on so much that we neglect the basic, foundational experiences of our lives. Relationships can fall to the wayside, we stop taking care of ourselves, and we let too much time pass us by too quickly. Learning how to say no to everything except the best opportunities in our lives helps us to keep focus and perspective. Most importantly, it allows us to have the freedom in our schedules to truly capture our days for what matters most.
Maximize Your Time
Sometimes we don’t take full advantage of the time that we have right in front of us. For example, I exercise every morning by riding a stationary bike. Reading is important to me, but something that I once found very difficult to fit into my schedule. When I learned how to maximize my time, I realized that I could read while cycling. Now, I can get my workout in and break up the redundancy of it by doing something else I love at the same time. It’s a win-win. Look for opportunities like that in your own day.
Reconsider Your Priorities
This one is perhaps the biggest struggle. Everything on our schedule carries with it some weight or significance in our lives, or else it wouldn’t be on our schedule. But even in light of that, there’s almost always something there that is not absolutely mandatory. Whatever it is, it may be good, it may be valuable, but it also may be draining away the time you can be spending on even better things. Be brutally honest with yourself, and through prayer, isolate those things and be open-minded in letting them go. You’ll then find yourself with much more time to focus on the best things on your list.
- Make a schedule and use it to set your priorities. Find the things that you can cut, and be bold in letting them go. Take that freed up time and commit it to an essential task. You’ll then see your growth in that area grow by leaps and bounds.
- Commit to taking more time to consider each opportunity that presents itself. Instead of feeling the need to answer right away, promise yourself that you’ll give yourself time to weigh your decision in light of your priorities. If it doesn’t make sense, pray for boldness and peace of mind in saying no.
Life is precious, and there is no time to waste. God has filled us with the ability to do incredible things. We can accomplish so much when we walk in His love and live lives of freedom as His children. That’s the kind of life that He wants us to experience. God desires for us to have control of our schedules so that we don’t rush through life in an effort to check things off a list. Commit to defending your day and protecting your time today. You won’t regret it.