Time management may seem like a more secular topic, but everything we have is a gift from God, and we should be good stewards of our treasures, talents, and time.
I learned a long time ago that I inevitably forget some things if I don’t write them down. So I have two simple rules I follow for any to-dos:
- Write them on a list.
- Look at the list daily.
That’s it. I’ve used an app called Todoist for years on my PC and my phone. It lets me quickly add any to-dos to various categories. It is easy to assign dates and make to-dos recurring if necessary. I use it for work tasks, for lists of things I want to tell my supervisor, team, or individual employees, for birthdays and anniversaries, for house maintenance things, for various lists such as what to pack for different kinds of trips, and much more. When in doubt, something goes in Todoist. I highly encourage people to have a system like this. Forgetting important things can be very costly in terms of your productivity and reputation, not to mention that it isn’t a great way of loving your neighbors.
But my biggest time-savers are avoiding social media, computer games, and watching little if any TV. I used to watch a lot more TV, especially sports, but when we had kids, I phased out of much of that without really thinking about it. Then I realized that I didn’t get that much value out of what I was watching, and it was easier to cut back more. I’m too compulsive with computer games as well, so I avoid those. If you can’t do things in moderation, cut them out completely. I did that with Twitter. I tried just taking a month off here and there to see if I could go back to it in a less compulsive way, but it never worked (OCD isn’t just a disorder, it’s a lifestyle). So I deleted my account. Later I got rid of Facebook, partly due to the time-wasting and partly because I learned more about what they do and how they do it. No regrets.
I also found that scaling back on news consumption saved time and reduced stress. We live in an unprecedented time where we unwittingly feel that we are omniscient, in that we think we know everything that is going on in the world in real-time, and omnipotent, in that if we go rant on Twitter that we’ve done something about it. And the repetition of analyzing the same stories can be pointless. I like being informed on current events, but I’ve learned to limit my time with the news cycles.
I’m not pressing all those views on you, but I encourage you to do an inventory of where you spend your time and think carefully about it.
If you aren’t reading the Bible and praying regularly, it is because you have decided not to. You may think you don’t have enough time, but what you are saying is that everything you do – all day, every day – is more important than that, and that God designed the universe without giving you enough time to hear from him or talk to him. So watching one hour of TV instead of two each night (or playing fewer computer games, or whatever) will free up an entire hour for something more meaningful and lasting.
And be creative with your time. Most of us spend a lot of time in the car, so instead of listening to secular music all the time, try listening to the audio Bible (free downloads at Bible.is) or to Christian Podcasts. Redeem your commute!
I took social media apps off my phone and then got off them altogether, because I wasted way too much time checking them. Instead, I pick up my phone and do Bible verse memorization with my Bible Memory app. It is a much better use of time. I know that many Christians live in fear of offending others, but if you use social media, I encourage you to try to work in some Christian truths where you can. Bible verses, links to sound articles defending the faith, etc., will signal to non-believers that you are a safe person to come to if they have questions about God.
My wife jokes that I’m like the guy in the Cheaper By The Dozen movie, who automated everything he touched. My approach is that if you do something regularly, figure out how to do it in the fewest possible steps. For example, I try to learn every meaningful shortcut I can on any computer software.
Time is a precious gift from God. Use it wisely.