Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Are you busy? Are you tired?  Are you stuck and joyless?

Brandon asks a question that I think all of us ask from time to time:

The question I had to ask myself was, why am I doing all these things I do and where are my priorities?

More importantly, what is the underlying motivation for my busyness and why does it sometimes sap my joy?

He found what many of us discover when we stop to ask ourselves the above questions:

I had taken my eyes off of God and put them on myself. I put the duties of family life, work, school, and ministry ahead of glorifying God with my heart. I had forgotten, somehow, that I was created by God to be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). I lost sight that this was the real reason behind everything he calls me to.

He reveals a warped perspective that is all too common in our lives

“Many of us treat time as a commodity to be recycled rather than a gift to be appreciated. We act like we own time rather than realizing that we’ve been given time.”

Finally he offers a way out of being unstuck and regaining joy in your life:

How do we get unstuck when our joy is fractured? Or better yet, how do we avoid getting stuck in the first place?

First, remember that God is in control. He will not leave you, and he is not surprised by your struggles.

Second, pray for a heart that desires God’s glory, not your own. This is constantly the hardest but most rewarding step.

Third, prioritize your time. Do not let work get in the way of your devotion to Christ and family. Find creative ways to manage your time or destroy things that cut into serving God and those he’s put in your life. It’s worth it.

The whole article The Joy of Getting Unstuck is more than worth your time today if you find yourself extremely busy in life.

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credit: Clelia Serpico

credit: Clelia Serpico

Tim Challies isn’t busy. He writes in  “I Have All the Time I Need”:

“There is a cost to busyness, but there is a more subtle cost to being perceived as busy. When people believe that I’m busy, they also believe that I am unapproachable. This is what has dist

urbed me the most. People at church may want or need some of my time and attention, but because they perceive me as being so busy, they may be afraid or embarrassed to ask for it. My kids may want some of my time but believe that dad is too busy for them. This is what disturbs me most, that my busyness, or the perception of busyness, makes me less effective in the areas in which I want to do well. That cost is too high to tolerate. So let me say it again, primarily to reassure myself: I’m not busy. I have all the time I need to accomplish the things the Lord has called me to.”

J. D. Greear says the opposite in “Four Ways to Win the Battle Against Busyness”

I’m a busy person. I interact with busy people all the time. Chances are, you’re a busy person (which is why you’re not even reading this introduction…you’re already skimming my four points below). Busyness is just in the air in our society. Not many of us like it, but few of us have managed to escape it.

Busyness isn’t just uncomfortable; it’s dangerous. There are few things as damaging—and potentially soul-destroying, as busyness. As Blaise Pascal once noted, busyness sends more people to hell than unbelief.

The draw of busyness is that it gives us a sense of importance. When my schedule is full, I feel like I’m in demand. “Without me,” we think, “all of this would fall apart.” As Christians, we all too often just baptize this idolatry by assuming that busyness equals faithfulness. And all the while we’re “burning ourselves out for Jesus,” we’re running on the fumes of our own self-importance. Meanwhile, Jesus is unimpressed.

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This quote comes from a piece written by Randy Alcorn for women, but men can glean much from it as well. The examples in the rest of the article might need adapted depending who you are but the principle of the fine art of selection is the same:

The hardest lesson we learned in our first twenty years of marriage was this: Life is full of good, worthwhile, and meaningful programs, activities, organizations, causes, and ministry opportunities—the vast majority of which we cannot and should not be involved with!

It is not sufficient that something be good or important. It must be the best and most important for me, and God must show me that. Why? For the same reason that if I have a hundred dollars to spend on groceries this month, I should buy meat and milk and fruit and vegetables, not donuts and chips. Most good things I will never be able to do. If I try, I’ll burn out and end up dropping out of half of them and doing the rest poorly.

We sometimes mistake Christian busyness for true spirituality, failing to realize that over-commitment is no more honoring to God than under-commitment. In our relentless pursuit of spiritual success, we drag ourselves through a dizzy, busy, barren life. Our unspoken motto seems to be “Weariness is next to godliness.”

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Timmy Brister challenges us not to be in such a hurry (something I struggle with often).  He thinks that a hurried life hurts the mission Jesus has called us to fulfill.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been reflecting on living a hurried life. I become convicted of patterns and pursuits counterproductive to the mission to make disciples. The rhythm of society these days seems to be so out of step with the cadence Jesus set out for his disciples. Here is the Savior of the world, the Author of time, never in a hurry in accomplishing the most life-changing, history-shaping mission the world has ever known.

Someone in a hurry makes an idol out of time. They allow the present to be dictated by the future. Lusting after not-yet moments, we deprive ourselves from the already present moments when we are called to love. Skillful living is making most of the time through a redemptive lifestyle, and ironically, making the most of time does not come by hurrying up but by slowing down.

One of the great hindrances to life on mission is being in a hurry. Have you noticed how impossible it is for a hurried person to love someone? They may be physically present, but they are mentally distant. They may give you lip service, but their hearts are far from you. Don’t get me wrong. There are good intentions with being in a hurry. I want to get things done. I love being productive. But when the product takes precedence over people, then my usefulness ironically makes me unproductive for the mission. Even worse, I begin to treat people like product rather than objects of my affection–to listen, to learn, to love. All those things that takes time–things that the absence of margin and presence of hurry rob us from experiencing as we controlled by a rhythm of life that takes the life out of us.

If you aren’t in a hurry you should read the rest of this article.

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Better never late

“As it is, we in this world cannot get away from the unpunctual, nor get them away from us, and therefore we are obliged to put up with them; but we should like them to know that they are a gross nuisance, and a frequent cause of sin, through irritating the tempers of those who cannot afford to squander time as they do.

Punctuality is one of the minor moralities, but it is one which every young man should carefully cultivate. The very smallness of the virtue makes its opposite vice the less excusable. It is as easy to be in time as it is to be five minutes late when you once acquire the habit. Let it be acquired by all means, and never lost again. Upon that five minutes will depend a world of comfort to others, and every Christian should consider this to be a very weighty argument.

We have no right to cause worry and aggravation to others, when a little thoughtfulness on our part would prevent it. If the engagement be for twelve o’clock, we have no authority to make it 12.5, and by doing so we shall promote nobody’s happiness. That odd five minutes may create discomfort for ourselves throughout the entire day, and this perhaps may touch the sluggard a little more keenly than any less selfish consideration.

He who begins a little late in the morning will have to drive fast, will be constantly in a fever, and will scarcely overtake his business at night; whereas he who rises in proper time can enjoy the luxury of pursuing his calling with regularity, ending his work in fit season, and gaining a little portion of leisure. Late in the morning may mean puffing and blowing all the day long, whereas an early hour will make the pace an easy one. This is worth a man’s considering. Much evil comes of hurry, and hurry is the child of un-punctuality.

The waste of other people’s time ought to touch the late man’s conscience. A gentleman, who was a member of a committee, rushed in fifteen minutes behind the appointed hour, and scarcely apologized, for to him the time seemed near enough; but a Quaker, who happened also to be on the committee, and had been compelled to wait, because a quorum could not be made up to proceed with the business, remarked to him, “Friend, thou hast wasted a full hour. It is not only thy quarter of an hour which thou
hast lost, but the quarter of an hour of each of the other three; and hours are not so plentiful that we can afford to throw them away.”

We once knew a brother whom we named “the late Mr. S____,” because he never came in time. A certain tart gentleman, who had been irritated by this brother’s unpunctuality, said that the sooner that name was literally true the better for the temper of those who had to wait for him. Many a man would much rather be fined than be kept waiting. If a man must injure me, let him rather plunder me of my cash than of my time. To keep a busy man waiting is an act of impudent robbery, and is also a constructive insult. It may not be so intended, but certainly if a man has proper respect for his friend, he will know the value of his time, and will not cause him to waste it. There is a cool contempt in unpunctuality, for it as good as says, “Let the fellow wait; who is he that I should keep my appointment with him?”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The following excerpt is from The Sword and the Trowel, 1880, “On Being In Time,” page 172. HT: Pyromaniacs

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Ryan has four simple ways to deal with chaos in your life. They are so simple and yet really difficult at first for most of us living in our fast-paced world.  I think it’s best to try to implement all four in your life for maximum impact.

  1. Set your alarm to wake up earlier
  2. Schedule your personal devotions
  3. Shut off your devices
  4. Section off time for quiet

Read his simple explanation of each right here.

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“Do you want to be productive? Don’t get organized. Get enthralled. Get smitten. Get on fire. Really want to do something. Want to do it bad enough that you are willing to say no to good things that will inhibit your doing what you really want to do.

Then work on organizing. Productivity systems will only help you when you know what you want to be productive about. Otherwise you’ll always have more books to read, projects to complete, emails to answer, people to meet than you can possibly organize. You’ll just shuffle stuff.

If you’re passionate, you will prioritize your time. If you’re dispassionate, you will dissipate your time.”

Jon Bloom

So what are you going to be passionate about this week? this month? this year?

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