Discover More Time
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 22 Oct
But God will help you find the time you need to pursue the priorities He has for you.
Here are some ways you can discover more time in your life:
- Ask God to reveal His priorities for your life and show you how you can best pursue them. Carve out time to keep regular appointments with God to pray and listen for His guidance.
- Consider the desires God has placed in your heart and the purposes He has revealed for your life. Commit to investing some time every day toward fulfilling those desires and purposes. Regularly update your objectives as God leads you into new seasons of life. When making short-term decisions, strive to keep your long-term objectives in mind.
- Keep track of how you currently spend your time. Then study your record to note activities that unnecessarily drain your time. Don't get discouraged; remember that there's always something you can do to make more time for what's truly important.
- Balance the time in your schedule between productive activities and time spent renewing your body, mind, and spirit. Also strive to perform a variety of different types of productive activities on a regular basis - some time interacting with people, some planning, some manual work, and some time working alone with details.
- Focus first on the essential activities you must do for life to run smoothly for you - such as buying food at the grocery store and filling up your car's gas tank - and activities that relate directly to accomplishing your objectives in life - such as being a good parent. Many tasks that don't fall into these two categories can either wait or be eliminated.
- Anticipate problems and interruptions you might encounter each day, and work to prevent them. Plan ahead with potential solutions to problems in mind. Develop effective yet tactful ways to deal with interruptions, such as by letting an answering machine screen your calls, then returning them only during the time of day that's best for you. When someone does interrupt you, affirm the person's value but don't agree to invest time in the request right then. Obtain specific details about the person's request, then commit to another time to get back with that person to handle the matter.
- Write and strive to follow a daily action plan. Clarify what you want to accomplish before charging ahead.
- When facing big tasks, divide them into smaller tasks, then diligently work your way through the smaller tasks until the entire job is done.
- Try to achieve as much closure as you can in every situation. When tasks are completed, you no longer have to think about them, which frees up time and energy for you.
- When facing a job that needs to be done, do it as simply and effectively as possible. Ask yourself what the vital ingredients are in the recipe of a successfully completed job, and focus just on those vital parts.
- Consider whether your standards for yourself are well-defined, relevant, and realistic. Don't waste time stewing in guilt that isn't necessary. If you're dealing with legitimate guilt, confess the issue to God and allow Him to transform you.
- Think about what messages you learned about time when you were growing up. For example, were your parents consistently late, or did they value promptness? Identify which ways of relating to time are helpful for you and which ones you should commit to changing.
- Remember that you only need to please God, not necessarily other people. Extend grace to yourself, realizing that you can't be perfect. Do your best, but also consider how you might accomplish tasks as easily as possible.
- Practice saying no to people firmly yet tactfully, and don't feel guilty about it.
- Delegate tasks when you can.
- When another person's actions complicate your time, focus on fixing the process rather than the person.
- When you procrastinate, ask yourself why. Ask God for the grace to turn those reasons into motivations to get started with a task.
- Redeem time you have to spend waiting by using it for some type of productive activity. For example, carry your mail with you so you can go through it while waiting at a doctor's office, or spend time waiting in line at a post office to plan your weekly grocery store list.
- Spend regular time each day praying, reading the Bible and getting to know more about God's character. Even 15 minutes each day will add up to great benefit over time.
Adapted from Finding More Time in Your Life, copyright 2001 Dru Scott Decker. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepubl.com, 1-888-501-6991.
Dru Scott Decker is an internationally known author and expert in finding abundant time.
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