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KEEPING TIME

Seven Keys to Good Time Management

New Life Ministries


CBN.com Key #1: Assume Responsibility. The first key is assuming responsibility for your use of time. The Bible challenges us to redeem the time, which means to make the most of the time God has given us. (See Ephesians 5:16) Choose to take charge of your time to the best of your ability. If you don't manage your time, somebody else will.

Key #2: Seek God's Guidance. Recognize that God has ordained for you a series of good works to accomplish. We read in Ephesians 2:10, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them".

Ask the Lord each morning to help you identify the good works that He has planned for you on that particular day. Ask the Lord to show you how and when and to whom you might minister by using the good gifts and talents that He has given you.

Don't limit your petition for God's guidance to the time you spend at work or in ministry. Ask the Lord to help you manage your recreational time, your friendships with others, renew your creative energy, and give opportunities for Christian witness.

Seek the Lord's guidance, too, for the time you spend with your spouse and family. Ask Him to help you manage your family time so that relationships are made strong and joyful.

Key #3: Plan Your Schedule. Months can go by without your making any progress toward the fulfillment of your God-given goals if you don't plan your schedule and set your goals and dreams into the context of deadlines.

Organize your time for maximum productivity and efficiency. If mornings are your most productive hours, set aside those times for work directly related to your goals. Put your greatest concentration and effort into those hours.

Most people I know find it easiest and most productive to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning. Others find their best prayer and Bible-reading time is after all other family members have gone to bed. There is no set rule. Do what works for you!

Ask the Lord to show you how to set your schedule in any given day, week, and year to allow for a good balance of work and rest, alone time and family time, input and output.

Key #4: Stay Organized. Continually searching for missing documents or items is a waste of time. Stay organized as you work. Throughout the Bible, we find numerous references about doing things and maintaining things in an orderly fashion. (See Exodus 40:1-16 as an example.) Recognize that your definition of being organized may be different from that of others.

Ask the Lord to help you remove the clutter from your life - the things that detract and pull you away from your God-given purpose and goals. Clutter includes time clutter - the things that clutter your schedule with unimportant activities and obligations.

Key #5: Rely on God's Wisdom. If you question the timing of anything in your life - when something should be done, how much time should be allotted to something, how often something should be done, the sequencing of a project - ask the Lord for His wisdom on the matter. As you plan projects or break down large goals into specific tasks, ask the Lord, "Am I sequencing activities, events, or tasks in the right order? Am I allotting the appropriate amount of time for each facet of this project or task or event? Have I set the right deadlines?"

Key #6: Eliminate the Unimportant. Charles Schwab, the president of Bethlehem Steel, hired a consultant and said to him. "If you'll show me how I and other top managers in our company can use our time better, I will pay you a fee of whatever you ask within reason."

The man said, "All right." He then gave Schwab a blank sheet of paper and said, "I want you to write on this sheet of paper all the important things you need to do tomorrow and list them in order of their priority. As number one, put the most important thing you should do tomorrow. As number two, put the second most important thing you should do, and so forth. Then when you go into work tomorrow morning, start with the first thing on your list and stick with it until you finish it. Then move on to number two, and so forth. You more than likely will not be able to accomplish all the things on your list in a given day, but you will have accomplished the most important thing on your list or at least made a major effort regarding it. Then tomorrow night, make a new list for the upcoming day. Do this for several weeks and let me know what happens."

I am happy to pass along the idea to you. I have put this principle to work in my life, and I heartily recommend it. Every night, after looking at my schedule for the coming day, I write down on a three-by-five card the four most important things I hope to do the next day. I put the list in priority order, and one of the first things I do the next morning is look at that card. I carry the list with me to my work desk and keep it where I can see it readily. I have discovered that if I don't stay focused on what I truly want to get accomplished, phone calls and various interruptions can send me running in forty directions.

In the overall pattern of your life, doing a good job at the tasks put before you is part of God's plan for your life. Interruptions may be lessons that God has for you to learn, including the lesson of flexibility. All of us, however, know that many interruptions are simply time wasters, and they are the ones that nearly always can be avoided or cut short.

Key #7: Review Your Day. At the close of a day, review the way in which you have spent your time. Evaluate your schedule. Compare what you did with what you intended to do. Ask yourself: Did I make good use of my time? Did I procrastinate? Was I able to maintain my concentration? Did I engage in activities that truly were priorities? Did I make progress (even a little) toward the accomplishment of my God-given goals?

As you see yourself doing things you desire to do in order to be successful in God's eyes, give thanks and praise to God for His guidance, help, and encouragement.

If you recognize that you have made mistakes or have fallen short of the ideal schedule you set for yourself, ask the Lord's forgiveness for any sins you have committed in wasting time, and then ask for His help to do better the next day.

Don't give up on the pursuit of your goals! Make adjustments, learn from your mistakes, and begin the next day with fresh enthusiasm and courage.


Taken from the book Success Gods Way by Charles Stanley. Used by permission of New Life Ministries. New Life Ministries has a variety of resources on men, women and relationships. Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE or visit www.newlife.com.

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