This blog is a continuation of last week’s article: Urgent and Important. I invite you to read the previous blog first before moving on with this one. You may check out the link to last week’s blog here:
Last week, I mentioned that we can get a lot of insights on how we can manage our time well based on the verses in Ephesians 5:15-17.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
This material was developed by our senior pastor from Victory Malate: Pastor Nixon Ng. Following are the four things that we can glean from this passage of scripture so that we can maximize the use of our time. First thing is:
1) KNOW your Priorities
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Part of making the best use of our time is understanding God’s will. Having a clear understanding of God’s will in our lives helps us determine the right priorities. Determining the right priorities gives us a guide or a compass on how we can effectively use our time. If we’re clear about this then we can make quick decisions as to whether we should be doing something or not. Most of the time, the reason we feel like we can’t manage our time well or feel like we don’t have enough time is because we’re doing a lot of things. The question is: “Are those things part of our priorities?” Maybe a lot of things that’s taking up your time are just time wasters and are not part of God’s calling in your life. The key is to get rid of them. We’ll get to that in a while. But for now, you should clearly establish the right priorities in your life 🙂
Do this as an activity For the next 15 minutes list down your top priorities. Make sure that this is part of God’s will for your life and make sure that you cap it at a maximum of 7 (going beyond this number maybe a little bit too much for anyone).
2) KNOW your Season
16 making the best use of the time,
There are two Greek words that translates to the English word: Time. The first is the word “Chronos”. This word talks about the passage of time (the ticking of the clock, days, months, years) while the other Greek word is the word: “Kairos” which talks about opportune time. The word Kairos can also be used to describe the weather and the plural of which (Kairoi) means “The times” which clearly talks about the concept of seasons.
After determining your priorities the next step is to know your season. What do I mean by that? Sometimes a lot of us have a list of priorities. We usually list them from 1-7:
6) School Organisation
7) Personal Development
The problem in viewing your priorities this way and by order is that by nature some become “more important” than others. The truth is, not all have equal weight and importance in a particular season of your life. Some of your priorities will require more attention and effort than others in particular periods of your life. One example of this is during finals week for students. During this time of the year, more of your attention, time and energy need to focus on your studies so that you can focus on doing well for your tests. Another example is if you’re part of an organization in school and heading a major project or event. There’ll be critical moments in that project or event where you’ll just have to devote more time and attention, sometimes this will even result to sleepless nights.
Again, it shouldn’t be about following your priorites in order always. It should be viewed more like a wheel where some priorities will have more weight during specific seasons and periods of our lives.
3) KNOW where your Time goes to
Look carefully then how you walk,…
Careful means to be circumspect, to be circumspect means to look about. This basically means that we have to be aware of what’s happening around us and where our time goes.
After knowing your priorities and season, now you have to be very careful on where your time really goes. It’s one thing to know your priorities and season, it’s another thing to actually spend time on those things. You have to take stock and inventory of your time. It’s one thing to say that you’re really making time for priorities, it’s another to be ACTUALLY doing it. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all else… Human beings are masters at self deception. A lot of people I know says that they are busy. Well if everyone is busy then no one is busy. Get it? The question is are you really busy? Or are you just saying that and are actually wasting your time?
Take an account of where your time goes just like how a financial planner would take account of where our finances goes. Carefully do this for the next few weeks and see if you’re really making good use of your time.
After you’ve done so, now categorize all your activities under these four categories: I) URGENT AND IMPORTANT, II) NOT URGENT AND IMPORTANT, III) URGENT AND NOT IMPORTANT, or IV) NOT URGENT AND NOT IMPORTANT. Where do most of your time and energy go to?
The ideal scenario is you would spend most of your time at the NOT URGENT AND IMPORTANT category. For some this will not make sense at first, because you’d think: “Shouldn’t I be spending most of my time at the URGENT AND IMPORTANT quadrant?” Yes, you should spend most of your time in this quadrant at first. However as time passes by and as you be diligent with your things to do, there’ll come a point that most of your activities will no longer fall under “URGENT”, thus you would have to focus most of your time and energy in the NOT URGENT and IMPORTANT field. Make sure that you do IMPORTANT things before it becomes URGENT. For more on this specific topic I recommend reading Stephen Covey’s best selling classic book: “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
4) Gain more KNOWledge and Skills
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
The word wise here means: “to be skilled.” In Ecclesiastes it says there that when there is lack of skills more work is needed but a sharpened ax will require less effort. Skills are important. We have to gain more skills and knowledge as time passes. The reason for this is as you become more skilful, it will require you lesser time to do certain things.
If you’re familiar with Microsoft Programs like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word you see that there are a lot of functions and buttons when you open it. Most people never take the time to study what those things are for and their uses. They just know Microsoft Word as a tool to write their papers while Microsoft Excel is a tool they use for computing stuff. Sometimes because they didn’t take the time to learn and enhance their skills, certain job functions require more time on their part to do. Two weeks ago I taught some of our staff certain tips and tricks when using Microsoft Excel. After they discovered about certain functions that the program can do, it left them flabbergasted. They said they didn’t know they had functions like this or like that i.e. (FREEZE PAZES, PIVOT TABLES etc.). It could have saved them an exorbitant amount of time had they trained in these program before and levelled up their skill.
The more skilful we are, the lesser time we will need to do certain things, consequently we’ll have more time to do other things.
So there you have it. Hope this blogged helped you learn some principles in how to manage your time well. I hope and pray that the reason you’d want to manage your time well is because you want to honor God with it. 🙂
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
Credits again to our Senior Pastor who developed this material. 🙂