How to Fail at Spending Quality Time with Your Kids

You’re busy. I know you’re busy.

You’ve got so much on your plate that you simply don’t have time to sit around a lot and hang out with your kids. So you try to be effective with the time that you do have. Rather than sitting on the couch watching TV, you spend those precious few minutes playing catch with your son or having a tea party with your daughter.

And you can pat yourself on the back for being a good parent. Right?
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Six Ways to Organize Your Life with a Tickler File

So you’ve got your tickler file ready to go… now what? How do we go about using it?

It’s really a pretty easy concept: just file away anything you’d want to remind yourself about.

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Using a Tickler File: Simple but Powerful

Ok, so it has a really silly name.
But a tickler file is one of the easiest and most effective tools you can use to help you get organized.

Imagine this:
You yawn and stretch while taking the first few sips of your morning coffee. Sitting down in front of your computer, you browse a few news sites and begin to think about what’s on the agenda for that day.

Then the phone rings.

You mutter under your breath – something about what type of fool would call you this early – as you pick up the phone. But the voice on the other end of the line is… you.
A time travelling version of you – from the past.

“Hey, just wanted to mention that you might want to think about calling Jeff at some point today.”

“Oh…thanks,” you say. “I hadn’t even thought about that in two weeks.”

That’s what having a tickler file is like – minus the sci-fi, time travelling phone call. It’s a way of filing reminders for yourself to “tickle” your memory at a later date. It helps you remember what you want, when you want, so that nothing falls between the cracks.

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The Arrogance of Time Management

In Ready for Anything, David Allen (author of Getting Things Done) has the following to say:

And get yourself organized enough so that when a staff meeting is late to start, you’re processing your in-basket or cranking down your FYI-to-read stack. Or when you’re waiting for your spouse to get ready (like, actually ready), you’re checking to see if there’s a phone call you could make.

I pictured myself sitting on the couch and tapping my toe – waiting on my wife who is several minutes late in getting ready. As an inherently impatient person, that scene has been a reality more times than I’d care to think about.

I had told myself to just relax. Sit on the couch and chill out. It’s just a few minutes – not a big deal.
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James 1:27 – Is Giving Your Money Enough?

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Repeatedly in the Bible, we see God instructing his people to care for the needy. But how are they to do this?

Notice it’s not by tossing a few dollars their way and going back to our busy lives. We are to visit them.

The word visit here is more than simply dropping by – it implies a real concern for someone’s total wellbeing. It comes down to using our money and our time to ensure that physical, spiritual, and emotional needs are met.

…Really?

I know what you’re thinking. Probably the same thing that I’m thinking.

My schedule is already maxed out. I’m trying to be a good dad and husband, I’m trying to have regular devotionals, I’m trying to exercise, I’m trying to serve in my church, I’m trying to bring home the bacon… Do I really have to give of my time?
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Our Culture is Addicted to Entertainment – Are You?

Hi, my name is Average American, and I’m a TV-aholic.

Nielsen just released a factsheet summarizing American TV usage for 2010 – and the most amazing thing for me was this: The average American watches 35.6 hours per week of TV – slightly over 5 hours per day.
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Stop Wasting Time: 5 Tips Learned from Buyer Psychology

Impulse Buys

They’re called Impulse Buys.

You’re probably familiar with them: all the candy, gum, toys, sodas, and magazines that you’ll find right by the check-out counter of grocery stores.

They didn’t get there by mistake. A lot of thought and a lot of research have gone into arranging these impulse buy zones – because retailers know they work. They know how impulse buys work and why they work.

Interestingly, a lot of the psychology is also applicable to how we use our time – helping us to see why we waste time with “impulse actions.”

Here are five factors behind the success of impulse buys that we can use to be better stewards of our time:
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Christian Concerns with “Getting Things Done” by David Allen

As I mentioned in my review of Getting Things Done, David Allen has outlined a wonderful framework for organizing and efficiently acting on the vast amount of information in our lives. I use a modified version of Allen’s GTD system as an integral part of my personal approach.

The book has some practical shortcomings, but of particular interest to this post will be the spiritual issues of Getting Things Done. Is the book suitable for Christians?
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Book Review: A Christian Look at “Getting Things Done”

Life of a Steward rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Highly recommended.

Most books on time management and productivity are really just the same old ideas repackaged again and again. Authors have new ways of looking at the same old paradigms, but it’s rare that someone truly breaks new ground with their material. Getting Things Done
by David Allen, however, does just that.
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How Should Christians React to Worldly Productivity Books?

There’s no doubt that you’ll encounter a lot of worldliness when flipping through the pages of a book on how to be productive. Very few are explicitly geared towards Christians – and instead, most focus on helping the reader make more money or feel less stressed.

In many books, the supreme goal in life is the worldly vision of relaxing on a beach, sipping cocktails, and reminiscing about how your time management has allowed you to accomplish so much.

Other resources do have vaguely spiritual aspects – which is usually more troublesome since they often hint at a non-Christian spirituality. Some are influenced by eastern mysticism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhist philosophies. Some incredibly popular ones are tied heavily into New Age religions.

Further Trouble: Author Spirituality

To add another element into the mix, many of the authors of these methods have backgrounds in New Age movements, Mormonism, Buddhism, and a host of other religions. Sometimes the author’s religion is obvious; sometimes it’s not.

So there’s definitely some potential bad stuff out there. But the larger question remains: How should Christians react to these materials?
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