If you are like many people, you are juggling a lot of things: your church responsibilities, your career or school, your relationships, your health and wellness-not to mention having some fun once in awhile! And when you have a lot to do, it is often hard to know what to do first. Moreover, if you spend most of your time in one area, you may be feeling out of balance and resenting the fact that you do not have time for anything else. You start to view time as your enemy and you find that your energy is zapped and you feel even more out of control. The key to getting yourself out of this cycle is to change your relationship to time and learn how to manage yourself around time.
First of all, we all have the same amount of time. Secondly, let’s remember what priorities are: short-term goals. These are the things that you want to accomplish in any given period of time. The more your goals represent your values, strengths and passions, the more likely you are to achieve them. The same thing goes for your priorities. A lot of people are stuck with to-do lists that have a lot of “shoulds” rather than their choices. We are managers of many things. What we need to learn is how to prioritize them.
“Management” is another word for “stewardship.” “Stewards,” or “managers,” are responsible over something entrusted to them by someone else. As believers, each of us are managers of spiritual resources with which God has entrusted us.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25:14-30 about servants whose master gave them resources called “talents,” which in this case was money. They were told to be good stewards and use the funds wisely. Those who did so were called “faithful” and were rewarded. Those who failed were judged and held accountable.
In order to begin to manage time in a way that makes you feel in control, you need to reset your priorities. By following these steps, you will get a good start on changing how to do more with the time you currently have:
First learn how you are currently spending your time:
The first step to changing your relationship to time is to assess or figure out how to spend your time. Write down all the things that you do. How much time do you spend in each area? The way you spend your time is a statement of what your priorities are.
Second, how happy are you with the way you are spending your time?
Next, think about the most important areas of your life (e.g., church, family, career, relationships, personal development, finances, health, fun, service etc).
•Rate each area in terms of how important it is to you. Use a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “not important” and 10 being “very important.”
•Now rate how well are you living each of these areas. How satisfied are you with the amount of time you spend on this area? Rate this on a scale of 1-10.
Look back at those areas that you rated as very important (8, 9 or 10). If there is a gap of 2 or more points between how important an area is and your satisfaction rating, chances are that you are feeling a lack of balance because there is a gap between what is important to you and what you are actually doing.
Third, reset your priorities to start doing more of the things most important to you:
In this step, you want to reorganize your priorities is to figure out what important activities are missing from your life. As you review each question, write down the activities that come to mind.
What is the most important thing in my life right now?
Where would I want to spend more time?
Where would I want to spend less time?
What areas need my attention now (e.g., God, family, talent, health, relationship)?
Write down your activities in the order that feels most important to you. This is your new list of priorities.
Remember that your priorities can change in any given period of time. If there is something important on your list that you do not have time for right now, think about when you can put into your schedule. It’s another way to use your time and feel like you have actually accomplished something.
Proverbs 3:6 (TLB) says: “ In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”
Have a blessed day.