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A Brief Consideration of Time Management

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How to Make Your Life More Honoring to God and Fruitful to Yourself and Others

 

1. You must learn to control your time. For example, you cannot allow the talkative person to ďstealĒ your time. Be polite, but firm. I recently had someone over who wanted to talk late at night. I virtually ushered him out the door, as politely as I could. He was not offended. But, I knew that to have a successful tomorrow, I must get to bed on time tonight, so that I can begin the day on time.

The day begins with management of the night before.  I am convinced that most Christians have a schedule that varies considerably from day to day.  They get irregular sleep and therefore perform at less than their maximum ability.  The management of the present day begins 2-3 hours before you go to bed the night before.  If you are hurried in the evening, or you stay up late (I hope not because you are watching television), then that state of mind will carry into your sleep and a lack of energy the next day.  For 1-2 hours before you go to bed, you should begin to slow down (think moving in quicksand).  Then, quiet reading or anything that relaxes you for 30-60 minutes before you actually get into bed.  Go to bed at about the same time each night!  God set an ordered pattern to each day and week.  We must do the same to get maximum benefit of each 24 hours.  An ordered life is a prerequisite for a God-honoring life!

A person almost never catches up with a late start to a day. Learn to get up as early as you need to get the day started right. Start with a devotional/study time. (See Dangers of Quiet Times.)  But, at the same time, be sure that you get enough rest. Every person is different, so find out how much sleep you really need, and be sure that you get it! If necessary, sleep late and/or take long naps on Sunday (not excluding worship) to ďcatch-up.Ē Donít let your church fill your Sunday with activities that do not allow you to rest. Sunday is for worship and rest in proper balance.

I am almost fanatical about getting to bed on time. Again, the next day really begins the previous night. There is rarely a day in which I am not well rested. I work hard. I go to bed very tired, but I get there on time.

2. You must know what your priorities are. My wife has always known that I am always available to her -- no matter what! My children knew that, as well. Now, at times, I have had to put them off until I finished something that I was working on. But, if the situation demanded it, I would always stop what I was doing to attend to them. Praise God, there are not that many emergencies in life. But, your loved ones should know that they have access.

And, if you canít answer them immediately, be certain that you follow up. Along with that, never make a promise that you do not plan to keep and make sure that you deliver on all your promises. I do not recall any promise that I ever made to my wife or my children that did not keep. But, that requires that you be careful not to make too many!

3. Read and listen selectively. Read only what is necessary for whatever you are doing. I stopped going to medical lectures because I had to sit through the whole thing to get one or two points. In five minutes from a book or journal article, I could get the same information. Of course, you are not at that level to know what you need and what you donít. But, I suspect that you are beginning to see that you canít learn everything and donít need to do so.

4. My 9th grade science teacher said that the most valuable characteristic of an educated man is, not knowing everything, but knowing where to look.

As long as you are a student, time management will be difficult, because others control what you are to learn and much of your time. And, it takes years of practice to be efficient.

5. For 2-3 weeks every year or two, keep a diary of everything that you do in each 24 hour period. Keep the schedule in the smallest increments to catch all your time. You will be amazed where your time goes. Then, you can better manage to achieve what are your priorities.

6. If there is any way possible, and I think there are few justifying exceptions. one's devotional study time should be the first priority of each day.  As above, to get started early, one has to get to bed early.  There are numerous Scriptures and Jesus' example of the benefits of rising early.  Also, a strong argument can be made that we owe to God the freshness and strength of of first efforts of the day, as we owe him the first fruits of our labor.

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