In the department meetings we did with our staff earlier this year, we once again described our mission statement in terms of behavior. Part of our mission statement is to do things with “a spirit of excellence”. Excellence means…You list objectives and have goals. We talked about time management with information from a book called “Management: A Biblical Approach” by Myron Rush.
Will Rogers used to say, “It’s not so much what you do each day—it’s what you get done that counts.” Paul emphasized this same point by writing, “Be very careful, then how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
The above quotes all have one thing in common – they stress the value and importance of time. Time is to be used and not wasted, because it cannot be stored or saved.
We all have the same amount of time. The secret to time management is not in learning how to save time or get more out of it. The secret is in knowing how to use wisely the 60 minutes in every hour. The secret is to be industrious, as the Bible says: “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy fellow. Learn from their ways and be wise! For though they have no king to make them work, yet they labor hard all summer, gather food for the winter. But you—all you do is sleep. When will you wake up? Let me sleep a little longer! Sure, just a little more! And as you sleep, poverty creeps upon you like a robber and destroys you; want attacks you in full armor. (Proverbs 6:6-11)
Be aware of time robbers. Wasting time doesn’t just happen; it is allowed to occur.
- Develop & maintain an organized personal activity schedule.
- Make a list of the next day’s or the next week’s activities.
- Determine what is high priority and what can be moved to another day or week.
- Delegate when possible, train and give deadlines.
- Schedule time for emergencies and interruptions.
- Don’t procrastinate.
The Bible tells of a servant given the job of watching a prisoner during a battle. The prisoner escaped, and when the servant was to explain what happened, he said, “While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.” (1 Kings 20:40) Notice the servant was busy. He was involved in lots of activity, but he failed to accomplish his goal, which was to guard the prisoner. In fact, it was the servant’s numerous activities that caused him to fail.
Important principles of time management appear in the account in Luke 10:38-42. Martha was a hard worker, constantly busy serving Jesus and the other guests in her home. However, her sister Mary, recognizing an opportunity to learn from Jesus’ teachings, let the housework go and joined those listening to Jesus. Martha, angered at her sister’s failure to help with the work, went to Jesus and complained, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?”
Martha was so busy she overlooked the important thing—the opportunity to learn from Jesus. Like Martha, people caught in an activity trap lose sight of the few important things and get caught up in the fury of action, motion and work, assuming they are accomplishing something worthwhile.
Martha was unaware she had lost sight of the goal, having become “distracted by all the preparations.” Once you lose sight of your goal, you focus on your efforts on activity.
Martha criticized her sister Mary, because she wasn’t as busy as Martha. People caught in an activity trap usually become deceived into thinking they are producing more than others because they are busier. As a result, they frequently complain about other people’s lack of activity.
Jesus pointed out that Martha’s furious pace was creating stress within her. This tends to be the end result of the activity trap. The “busy” activities produce stress and tension, which frequently stimulate more and more activity.
Time management consultants say that 80% of the results are produced by 20% of the effort. To avoid the activity trap, we must eliminate those activities that make little if any contribution to the goal.
- Avoid working on several small projects at once.
- Finish one project before starting another.
- Prioritize your projects and work on the most important ones first.
- Set self-imposed deadlines for all projects and meet them.
- Concentrate on results.
To stay on schedule:
#1 — Develop your priorities and make sure they are communicated.
#2 — Learn to say “NO” to things that do not contribute to the priority.
#3 — Maintain a high level of commitment to managing your time effectively.
Jesus had constant demands on His time. Needy people were everywhere. However, in order to do what the Father directed, He had to decline some activities. A classic example of this is found in Mark 1:32-38. Jesus worked late into the night healing the sick and casting out demons. The next morning He got up before daylight and went out alone to pray. The disciples came to Him and said, “Everyone is looking for You!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” Mark 1:37-38
Jesus never lost sight of His priorities. When demands on His time threatened to interfere with His Father’s will, He quickly said no to those demands. Undoubtedly, there were still unmet needs back in the city. However, Jesus realized if He yielded to every request for His time, He would not have been able to visit the other communities in which He needed to minister.
There are many good activities that need to be done by someone. However, you must realize you can’t meet ALL of the needs of ALL of the people ALL of the time. You must set priorities and learn to say “NO” in order to do the important things God has planned for you to do.
Be committed to let God work His will through you and be sensitive to God’s timing. The effective use of time consists of doing what God wants at the time He wants it done.
Seek God’s guidance concerning when a project should be implemented and then use the available time wisely.
Check out the “Things” App or other time management tools that can help you to list your objective and have goals and improve your time management skills.
We always want to strive to increase production and cut expenses by doing the following:
- Be Efficient
- Be Effective
- Plan Your Day
- Stay Focused
- Establish Priorities & Write Them Down
- Organize, Schedule & Budget Time Wisely
- Eliminate Waste
- Eliminate Distractions
- Eliminate Habits That Are Unproductive
- Don’t Get Sidetracked
“And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may be able to read it easily and quickly as he hastens by.” Habakkuk 2:2 Amplified
Here are some email reminders we sent to our staff to help us focus on having a spirit of excellence by listing objectives and having goals:
Excellence means….You list objectives and have goals.
Have objectives and goals so you can aim to hit the bull’s eye.
Set goals, make a plan, work the plan, don’t quit until you reach the goal.
Use your time wisely. Avoid time robbers. Eliminate things that don’t contribute to the goal.
Don’t lose sight of your priorities.
Learn to say NO in order to do the important things God has planned for you to do.