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Sunday, October 18, 2009

"How to" Series: The 10 T's of Time Management

Time. No one ever seems to have enough of it. Sometimes the days of our lives fly by so fast we can't even remember what we did three hours ago much less what we did last week. But how we choose to spend our time is important because it reflects what we value in our lives. As believers, our heart's desire is to steward our time on Earth wisely so that our Father in heaven is glorified. The 10 T's of Time Management are tried and true time-saving tips that will help you find more time for what is truly important!

1) Trust each and every minute of your life is in God’s hand. Psalm 31:15 (KJV)

Notice God only needs one hand to hold all our times. We are tempted to think God somehow needs our help to figure out what we should do next. The God of the universe is perfectly able to direct every minute of our lives by His mighty power!

2) Tithe a portion of your time each day to the Lord. Psalm 34:1, Ephesians 6:18, Psalm 119:10-20 (The Message)

The average person is awake 15-16 hours per day yet spends less than 10 minutes per day with the creator of time. (Watch 40 million minutes here.)

Can you imagine what would happen if believers became intentional about tithing a portion of their time each day to the Lord?

I don't think we can fathom the global impact that would occur if millions of Christians worldwide began investing 1 1/2 hours of their time each day to deepening their relationships with Christ. The reality is, we become like the people we hang around with. I don't know about you, but there is no person I'd rather be like than Jesus.

3) Take captive extra minutes. Ephesians 5:15-16

Taking captive extra minutes requires discipline! If you find there is never enough time in your day to get everything accomplished, wake up earlier. It is amazing how much you can accomplish if you get up before your kids.

Also, plan and organize each evening.1 Implementing a nighttime routine saves you headaches when morning rolls around. Take baths at night, lay clothes out before bed, make lunches a day in advance, and meal plan so you do not waste time wondering what to cook for dinner. Sorting laundry in the evening and throwing the first load in the washer prepares you for a calm start to your day.

4) Tune out distractions. Colossians 3:2

Ok. This one is simple. The reason we have such difficulty doing what God has asked us to do in our homes is because we are too busy doing other things. So let's get honest. How much time do you spend watching TV, talking or texting, surfing the Internet, or using social networking sites?

If you want to be more productive, carve out a window of time during your day to return phone calls, check e-mail, or use the Internet.2 If it's not time to do those things, don’t do them! You'll be amazed at how much time you save.

5) Test yourself. 1 Corinthians 9:24

If you have a hard time getting motivated (don't we all?), see how fast you can complete tasks by setting a timer.3 This is crucial because if you don't set a timer, you will continue a project inevitably especially if you struggle with perfectionism!

Parkinson’s Law says,“Work expands to fill the time allowed for completion.” So don't let household chores rob you of precious minutes! Set a timer and then move on to the next task when it dings. I promise you, your toilet will still be waiting for you next week.

6) Trade places, not spaces. Matthew 6:19-20

If something doesn't have a home pitch it! In other words, avoid moving an object from one space to another in your home. If you cannot find a place to store it, it's time to get rid of it. So often we forget less is more. When you throw or give away things you don't need, you'll find your home more orderly and peaceful.

7) Tell people no. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Now are ya'll ready? We are going to practice this one together. Out loud say the word "No!" Let me hear you. With a little force. Good job!

For many women, this is the hardest two-letter word in their vocabulary. So many of us feel obligated to do what any and everybody asks of us. After all, we are the caretakers, the nurturers, and often, the crux of the church.

But let me tell you a freeing truth. You are only obligated to do what God has called you to do. And when you choose to do what God hasn't asked of you, you might just end up stealing someone else’s blessing.

8) Track your progress. Proverbs 21:5 (The Message)

Many of us tend to buck structure in our lives. We do what we want to do when we want to do it. The problem with this philosophy is that structure is crucial to getting tasks accomplished.

We often forget God is a God of order and not of chaos. With order comes peace and eventually joy, which is what we need to focus on when a job seems insurmountable.

One way to track your progress is to set realistic goals and make reasonable lists. Notice I used the words realistic and reasonable! Next divide your lists categorically before you prioritize. This will prevent you from trying to prioritize a mile-long laundry list. One way to do this is to divide tasks room-by-room or by various life-areas such as home, job, ministry, etc.

Realize that aspirations and responsibilities are NOT THE SAME! Goals are something you desire to accomplish; responsibilities are what you must accomplish. There is a difference! Sometimes I get so focused on achieving my goals that I forfeit my responsibilities all together. I need to always remind myself that when I steward well over the responsibilities God has entrusted me with, He will expand my territory in His time, not mine.

9) Tackle the toughest jobs first.4 Job 7:1

The reality is we procrastinate when tasks are disliked or difficult. Doing the most difficult job first will give you momentum to do the easier ones because you feel a sense of accomplishment.

10) Tame the desires of your flesh. Matthew 26:41

We may be tempted to swing to one of two extremes: idleness or perfection. Either we don't want to do anything or we must do it perfectly. Or better yet, if we can't do it perfectly, we won't do it at all.

When we begin to venture toward either extreme, we need to run to the feet of Jesus and confess our sin! Neither one of these extremes is healthy ... one is rooted in slothfulness and the other in pride. And both will rob us blind of precious minutes we desperately need in our day.

All in all, our lives are but a vapor. Let's live on purpose!

I'd love for you to leave a comment and share your favorite time management tip so that we might all glean from one another.

“Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:13-14 (NKJV)

1. George, Elizabeth. A Woman After God's Heart. (Eugene: Harvest House, 2006), 181, 184.
2. Landers, Robert L. and James A. Hawkins. Mosby's Nursing Leadership and Management Online. (St. Louis: Mosby, 2006), 190-191.
3. George, Elizabeth. A Woman After God's Heart. (Eugene: Harvest House, 2006), 183.
4. George, Elizabeth. A Woman After God's Heart. (Eugene: Harvest House, 2006), 183.


Katie said...

Thanks for all your hard work! Let's see... time management. Well, I don't think my tip applies to this directly, but I shared making a list of all your family members and how you can serve them each day - like read a book to your little one, or do your husband's laundry, or make that phone call etc...

That helps me order my day some.

Stephanie Garneau said...

Other good tips are folding laundry as it comes out of the dryer and having your children do whatever chores are age appropriate. My two-year old Noah loves to put up the utensils each morning! Also,requiring younger children to read books in bed until 7:15 a.m. or so instead of letting them get up immediately when they wake gives you extra minutes to yourself in the morning to get organized.

Julie said...

I enjoy talking on the phone but have learned to use that time to do mindless tasks that require one hand... wiping down kitchen counters, cleaning out the microwave, dusting...

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, this is a great work. I loved the part of "Goals are something you DESIRE to accomplish. Responsibilities are what you MUST accomplish" WOW! That was pretty thought provoking for me and it hit my heart and helped me examine whether my priorities are in line.

Katie, something I have been doing with my son Andrew is using the language of 'serving others' like you are talking about. This week we made a few meals for families and he helped with the chopping and dessert preparation and he also drew art work for a few cards. We talked about how this was his service unto the LORD where he could use his gifts, time, and ability to bless others.

Thanks for a great Titus 2 discussion!
Love, Michelle

Barbara Magee said...

Something that I try and do every pay period is sit down and write 2 weeks worth of meals and let my husband review the list. We stick to that list and I always know what meals we are going to have each day and that keeps me from having to stop every morning before I leave for work wondering what will I fix for dinner when I get home.

HeatherLea said...

My tip is personal...it's something I need to accomplish. When I start doing things around the house, it's easy for me to start in one room and think of something I need to do in the next room. I know I will save time if I stay in one room and complete tasks there before going to the next. However, I know that I will forget what I planned to do in the next room if I don't write it down. So my tip is finish all tasks in one room and make a list of the other things that "cross" your mind.

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