As the years have gone on, I’ve tried a variety of time management systems and have a big collection of tricks I’ve used.
You want to know what I’ve found to often be the best method for me?
The one that’s new.
I was listening to a podcast the other day on the drastic changes coming our way over the next few decades as technology advances. It will be unimaginable.
The podcast hosts were so excited as they saw tremendous potential; they were optimistic about the fate of the human race.
But in some ways I wasn’t so convinced.
When we see our time management through the lens of scripture, we realize that we’ve got the Holy Spirit to empower us.
Imagine the good that could come in our life through the Spirit’s power. Imagine the Holy Spirit’s activity doing away with procrastination, overcommitment, sloth, frantic busyness, misplaced priorities, and guilt from wasted time.
What a breath of fresh air that would be.
But perhaps some of the reasons you’re frustrated with your time stewardship is because you’re trying to use God instead of allowing him to use you.
Have you ever read a stewardship parable (like the Parable of the Minas) and it made you feel guilty? Instead of identifying with the good stewards, you found yourself having more in common with the bad ones – you know, the ones that were called wicked and were punished severely.
Sometimes the bar can just seem so high. And we fail again and again. And again. And again.
We’re stressed. We’re worried. We’re proud. We’re self-sufficient. We’re lazy. We’re too busy.
And we may start to think we’ll never change. What’s the point in trying?
You may be stressed and slammed and busy and overworked and overcommitted and up to your eyeballs in obligations.
You want to learn more about time management. You think perhaps a new system might help – or perhaps reading more about how to optimize some routine tasks you perform.
But the problem is you don’t have time to do the reading! You can’t find the time to learn about the new techniques. You can’t find the time to get going with the systems.
Sometimes time management is about large, sweeping goals and major projects that affect our lives. Other times, it’s just about a quick trick or two that will help us have a little fun and shave some minutes off of your workday.
This Thursday Time Tip is definitely one of the latter – a fun technique that can give you a little drive to close out some tasks.
Whenever we talk about managing our times in more effective ways – ways that bring glory to God – we are talking about more than simply behavior changes.
Changing behaviors and habits starts with changing our thought patterns. And Barb is an expert at what scripture says (and doesn’t say) about how to go about that process.
I haven’t really shared this anywhere, but my wife and I are just getting out of a difficult season in our marriage. We weren’t in major trouble or on the brink of divorce, but we were going through one of those valleys in our relationship where we both needed to step up and work on our marriage.
So for the last year or so, I’ve put a lot of effort into trying to be a good husband – the husband that God calls me to be.
What a great and holy desire, right?
But it wasn’t, in my case.
I went about it the wrong way. And the mistake I made is a great illustration for how we can get off-course in attempting to be good stewards of our time.
There’s only so much mental effort that you can pour into a particular task before you need a break.
These breaks aren’t giving in to temptation. As mentioned in The Power of Full Engagement, taking the occasional breather helps you increase your energy levels before you tackle that difficult project again.
But there’s another strategy that I’ve toyed with that has allowed me to be quite productive and still enjoy the energizing effects of a break.
So you failed today. Maybe you lost your temper. Maybe you blew your diet. Maybe you procrastinated for a while and left your to-do list virtually unchanged.
To get back up, you’ve got to forgive yourself. But make sure you do that in the right way.
Give yourself grace – not tolerance.