We live in a culture that is obsessed with managing time. The problem is, we are focused on managing the wrong thing. We should be managing ourselves. If we don’t change, then time will continue to allude us and we will continue seeing it wasted away.
We use all types of tools to help us manage time, such as lists, schedules, organizers, apps, willpower and self-discipline. However, unless we know what is most important based on our principles and values, we may be spending our lives organizing either the wrong things or the lesser important things in life.
As some would say, we may be doing the good but forsaking the best. As Stephen Covey has taught us in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we may sabotage the important and essential by always doing the urgent.
Remember, always put the BIG rocks in first – and then the smaller ones will fit in around them. This is not only how we want to load a pail of rocks, but how we want to live our lives. We all have to do lesser or urgent things, such as pay bills and run to the grocery store – but these should only play a supporting role to the much larger and more important things that we live to do.
Most of us think we need either more discipline or another app to help get and stay organized so we can manage our time better. Tools are important. Tools are necessary, but only when you know how to use them. It does no good to give a person a screwdriver who has no clue how to use it. Same is true of time management tools.
Until we know our principles and values and have a vision and mission for our lives, how do we even know when or where to put our time?
Getting Burned by Someone Else’s Script
Most of us get burned out by living someone else’s script or by trying to do what the culture says is important for us to do. Keeping up with the “Jones” or trying to be everything to everybody is exhausting!
Jesus never lived to please others or live out someone else’s script for his life. This is why He never got burned out or exhausted. He got physically tired, but He didn’t lose himself in meaningless endeavors. He had passion and energy. He had a flow to his life because He did what the Father called Him to do.
The Art of Saying No!
Jesus could always say “no” to lesser things so He could say “yes” to the important things. He never tried to please everyone
– not even his family or closest friends. Nor did He try to be everything to everybody. As one women put it, “saying yes to everything won’t make you wonder woman, it will only make you a worn - out woman.”
The Dreaded Cycle
We dread saying yes... but we can’t say no because we don’t want to disappoint anyone!
So our calendar gets crazy... then we do! Then we get overwhelmed trying to squeeze everything in... then we get burned out! Then everything and everyone that really matters feels like an interruption or irritation!
Why Do We Say Yes When Everything Inside Us is Saying No?
•We want other people to like us
•We want to impress others
•We want others to return our acceptance back to us
•We like the feelings of gratification that we get back from others, such as praise
What Are Our Real Motives for Pleasing Others? Here is where we ask ourselves the tough questions (sometimes we do for others not just because we are such great people)
•Am I giving help and kindness out of genuine compassion?
•Am I hoping to get something in return?
•Am I afraid they may not like me?
•If I do this for them, will they be more likely to do something for me?
•Do we believe the lie: if I just do a little more for them, they will affirm me and give me the praise I’ve always wanted
The Real Truth About Time
Here is the real truth about time for all of us – whatever we focus our time and attention on, this will become the driving force in our lives. It will be these things that will consume our time, thus our lives. We all become like addicts to the things that drive us. Those things might start on the outside of us, but eventually they get on the inside of us.
Until we come to terms with what is on the inside of us and have a clear picture of these things, we may always waste our time doing things and trying to be things we should never do.
May we spend our lives asking the question that Jesus asked, “What does the Father want me spending my time doing today?”