Some time management tips are universal, but some are specific for busy Christians. Time management isn’t always about doing more, but it is about doing what is right and necessary to accomplish our goals and God’s desires. For a Christian, that means that we should be doing things that matter when it comes to obeying God’s will in our lives.
Here are some great tips to help you do the right thing at the right time.
Put God First
This is critical. If you don’t have your relationship with God in order, then how can you expect to know what the right thing is you are supposed to be doing? Spend time daily in God’s Word and in prayer . Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in setting your priorities for the day. Your goals for today also hinge on future plans that God has for you. Allow Him to lead you through His revealed will in the Bible. This means that your first priority is to always obey God’s Word. However, there are many decisions that you must make which God does not give clear guidance in the Bible. From there allow His Spirit to lead you.
Know God’s Will
If you don’t know what God has designed you to do, then it is hard to know what your ultimate priorities should be. Seek to know God’s will for your life . Sometimes people talk about God’s will like it is something God has hidden from you. This is not the case. God wants you to know what His will is.
Primarily it starts with obeying God’s Word every day. When you obey the principles set out in the Bible then you will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading so that you can know and obey God’s plan.
Time management really does not matter if you are not focusing your time on the right things.
Find the Right Priorities
There is a lot of talk among ministers as to what your priority structure should be. Should it be: family first and church second? Or, church first and family second? I believe if you will put God first, then you will know what should be second and third on the list. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your decisions and you will sometimes make the choice to put family over church ministry and sometimes church ministry over family.
Of course, you may not be a minister, but this principle still applies. Put God first and allow the Holy Spirit to help you know what your priorities in any situation should be.
Take time to think and plan. I am a big fan of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done . Allen stresses the need for a weekly review. This is a time to sit down and think about what has been accomplished over the last week and what is coming up in the next week or months. This doesn’t have to take too much time, but it needs to be done. If you don’t think through your upcoming events then you won’t know how each piece fits together in the bigger picture of your life.
I recently spoke with a builder who said that he usually accomplishes more on a job the days he works by himself than the days he works with a crew. He knew that on days he was by himself he was forced to think through the job. He had to plan and make conscientious decisions based on what a one-man crew could do. But on days he worked with other people he spent less time thinking because he assumed that anything that came up he could tackle. The truth is that thinking is what makes the difference on being able to get things done.
Say No to the Unimportant
It may not be true with everyone, but many people I know have trouble turning down requests to do unimportant tasks. You don’t have to turn down every fun project pitched your way, but if a project does not help you follow God’s will, then why would you agree to do it?
Agree to projects based on your priorities and desire to do God’s will in your life.
Do Important Tasks, Not Just Urgent Ones
We so often get wrapped up in doing urgent things and not important ones. This does not mean you shouldn’t take care of the urgent matters that come up, but don’t let them derail you. Sometimes urgent items are important, but many times they are not.
Often an urgent matter is caused because someone else did not take care of the important tasks in their own work flow. This may be a time to educate them and allow them to fail in an area. If you will not respect your own priorities and tasks then you can’t expect others to respect them for you.
Write Things Down
Have a way to capture ideas that come to you. If you don’t capture and remember what it is you want to accomplish, there is no way to guarantee you will do them. There are many smartphone apps that can help you with that. The one I use most is Evernote . I have different capturing tools for different types of tasks and ideas.
You should choose a tool that you will always have with you and that is quick and easy enough to encourage you capture your thoughts. For many people this is a pen and piece of paper. I carry a sheet of notebook paper folded into an 8-page booklet for this purpose . I find this is the best way to capture ideas quickly and then I can transfer them to other places as needed when I take time to sit down and think.
Know What Needs to be Done
I love when I am talking with someone and I feel like I have their complete attention. It makes me feel important and it elevates my respect for them. To be that person who can devote your attention to others at the moment you must know what needs to be done and what can be put off during that time. If you don’t know what is on your calendar or your to-do list, then you cannot devote your attention to the task or person at hand.
Live as if Today Were Your Last
The Bible says we aren’t given any promise of tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1). You need to live so that you accomplish what you believe is important at the moment based on your priorities and God’s will at this time (James 4:14). This may be playing a board game with your children, preparing a sermon or fixing a leaky faucet. I can’t tell you what is important, but you should know what that is. If you aren’t sure then you need to spend time with the other tips here.
Plan for Tomorrow
While we should live knowing that tomorrow may never come, we also know that it is wise to plan for the future. Proverbs 6:6-8 says we should take a lesson from the ant that plans for the future. Proverbs 16:9 says that we should plan and allow God to direct in and through our planning. If you don’t sit down and count the cost of a project, there is no reasonable way to expect that it will be accomplished. Planning is necessary.
Do you have any time management tips for Christians? I would love to read about them and how you put them into practice. Please leave a comment with your suggestions.
King James Version Bible, (KJV)
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