Manage Your Time (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #12)

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We dreamers and creators are always working toward a goal or dealing with a problem; waiting and hoping for answers and breakthroughs. Along the journey to realizing our hopes and aspirations we’ll encounter opposition and setbacks, and we’ll need to be able to endure delays and disappointments. Sadly, when “life happens,” it’s tempting to give up on our dreams and creative pursuits. If we want to stay the course and fulfill our destinies, we’ll need the backing, encouragement, comfort, strength, and reassurance that comes from One greater than ourselves. To get this Divine support, we’ll need some basic training … to follow several important spiritual steps.

1. Write the Vision

2. Have FAITH that God is able to accomplish the vision -- and will bring it to pass

3. Feed your Faith and Dreams

4. Commit your Efforts to God

5. Tap into the Power of Prayer

5.2. Tips on Prayers for Creators & Dreamers

6. Trust God for Guidance

7. Seek and Trust God for Supernatural Favor

8. Manage your Mind

8.2. More on Managing your Mind

9. Adjust your Attitude (1/6/17)

10. Watch your Words (1/9/17)

10.2. Implement Praise (1/13/17)

11. Do Strength Training (1/20/17)

11.2. More Strength Training (1/23/17)

11.3.  More Joy, More Strength (Friday, 1/27/17)

12.  Manage your Time

Good Time Management is an important skill everyone should develop, but it’s absolutely essential for creators and dreamers. Each of us is allotted just 24 hours a day to accomplish multiple tasks, so we need to spend our time wisely. And if we’re actively pursuing a dream, trying to reach a goal, then we’ll always have important things to do, places to go, people to see. So, we can’t afford to squander our time on unproductive activities that don’t add value to our physical, emotional or spiritual well-being — and which don’t get us any closer to our goals.

No, we’re not veering off course. Boot Camp for Creators and Dreamers is all about learning the spiritual steps necessary to reach our goals — and properly managing our time is actually a Biblically-mandated and extremely spiritual discipline. After all, time is the single most precious resource we have: when it’s gone, it’s long gone; and we can’t beg, borrow, or steal more of it. Hence, God expects us to use it wisely; as with any gift or valuable resource, God wants us to be good stewards of the time He’s given us here on earth.

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29 NLT)

In a practical sense, how we spend our time will determine how much we can accomplish; whether we’ll meet our obligations each day, as well as the personal (goal-oriented) tasks we set for ourselves; and ultimately whether we’ll reach our full potential and achieve our dreams — or not. When we’re not careful (and wise) with our 24-Hours-A-Day allowance, we often run out of time before we’ve completed our creative “To Do” List.

Productive peoplethose who “find” the time to get things done — know how to wisely budget their time. They rarely squander this important resource. Instead, they’ve mastered the skill of time management, and they make the most of each and every day. Productive people follow the Apostle Paul’s admonishment, “…See that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage….], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 AMP)

How do we make “the very most” of our time? By using it efficiently: by being productive; by filling our time with sensible and worthwhile activities that bring us closer to God and our goals (or which have a positive impact on our world); by making every minute count; sometimes by multitasking, but almost always by making smart choices about when, where, and how we’ll spend our time.

Because there are so many people, needs, responsibilities, and activities vying for our attention and time (yes, literally), so it’s always important to ask the Lord for discernment and direction. Opting to spend time pursuing your dreams rather than wasting time watching too much TV is a no-brainer. However, other choices may not be so obvious. Prayer can help you to prioritize your schedule, and keep you on track. Staying tuned in to God and in touch with His priorities can also prevent you from going to the other extreme: becoming mean-hearted and stingy with your time.

We never want to reach a point where we’re obsessed with time management, always preoccupied with our schedule and plans — bound by the hands on the clock. We need some balance, a bit of moderation in all things. Proper time management will help us reach our goals more quickly, but it’s also important to enjoy the “journey” to fulfilling our dreams. Face it, when you’re speeding down the highway of life in pursuit of your goals, all the beautiful “scenery” you pass along the way becomes little more than a blur.

Let’s clarify something: we’re always careful to make time for friends and family; and we periodically take time to go for a walk, play a board game, or watch a good movie. We need such diversions to help keep our sanity. But maintaining that balance is essential. We never want to spend ALL of our time hanging out and having fun. If you have unfulfilled dreams, you need to stay focused.

  • Time is a valuable commodity. Ben Franklin once said, “Time is money.” Not exactly true, but close enough. Time is a valuable resource you can’t replenish. It’s easy to turn over an hourglass and restart the flow of sand; but in life, once the real sands of time run out, we can’t reclaim a single grain. We spend time; and we often describe this time as being wellspent. On other occasions we may grumble that we’ve wasted our time. We may speak of time we’ve invested in a person or a project. We might even joke about stealing a moment from our busy schedules.

If you view time the same way you should be viewing money, then you’ll have a better grasp of how important time is, and how to maintain the proper balance. Example: You get paid (you have some time on your hands), but how will you spend your resources? You first need to take care of some nagging debts (social obligations); then you decide to invest for your future (devote time to achieving your dreams); finally, you have something leftover and you decide to spring for a mocha latte and a Cinnabon (you spend some leisure time — doing something absolutely mindless, if you want, like playing tiddlywinks).

  • So budget your time. Do the math. Spend your hours and days wisely. Make sure you have something to show for each and every “purchase.”

Remember, the next time you’re goofing off (excessively so), that instead, you could be hatching grand schemes and chasing big dreams! (It’s our favorite sport!)

To Be Continued: Trustworthy Tips on Time-Management.

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Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers, Part 11.3

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We dreamers and creators are always working toward a goal or dealing with a problem; waiting and hoping for answers and breakthroughs. Along the journey to realizing our hopes and aspirations we’ll encounter opposition and setbacks, and we’ll need to be able to endure delays and disappointments. Sadly, when “life happens,” it’s tempting to give up on our dreams and creative pursuits. If we want to stay the course and fulfill our destinies, we’ll need the backing, encouragement, comfort, strength, and reassurance that comes from One greater than ourselves. To get this Divine support, we’ll need some basic training … to follow several important spiritual steps.

1. Write the Vision

2. Have FAITH that God is able to accomplish the vision -- and will bring it to pass

3. Feed your Faith and Dreams

4. Commit your Efforts to God

5. Tap into the Power of Prayer

5.2. Tips on Prayers for Creators & Dreamers

6. Trust God for Guidance

7. Seek and Trust God for Supernatural Favor

8. Manage your Mind

8.2. More on Managing your Mind

9. Adjust your Attitude (1/6/17)

10. Watch your Words (1/9/17)

10.2. Implement Praise (1/13/17)

11. Do Strength Training (1/20/17)

11.2. More Strength Training (Monday, 1/23/17)

11.3.  More Joy, More Strength Training

Hello, fellow dreamers and creators. As we previously discussed, in order to become lean, mean, faithful “machines” who can keep on going like the Energizer Bunny, we need some serious strength training. And NOTHING makes us stronger than the “joy of the Lord.” So we now continue our discussion of the steps to getting and keeping your joy. Uh, enjoy yourselves!

  • Take time to rest — and get the proper amount of sleep! Lack of sleep results in mental and physical fatigue, and fatigue (being plumb tuckered out) is one of the most common joy-killers facing people today. That’s why God created a day of rest: “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work.” (Exodus 20:8-10 NLT)

Sounds like God really means business with this; not only did our Creator make this whole rest thing one of the Ten Commandments — it’s number 5 on His list — but He also set the example for us other creators to follow: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. …Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. …On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so He rested from all His work.” (Genesis 1:1,31; 2:2 NLT)

Hey, God created you, so He knows what’s best for you. Rest and relaxation help to restore our enthusiasm and joy. (There’s that word again!) Sleep is as important as food, and yet, when it comes to catching some Z’s many of us are malnourished. And of course, no matter how dark things may appear now, they always look brighter in the morning … after a good night’s sleep: “Weeping may endure for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 AMP)

So, turn off the TV, close the book, get off the Internet, and go to bed at a decent hour — for the sake of your own creativity!

  • Stop and smell the roses! Yes, always pursue your dreams with gusto. But remember, the path you take to reach your goals isn’t just about the destination. Be sure to enjoy the journey itself; take in the scenery along the way; laugh, play, have some fun; and nurture the curious and creative “child” within. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 GWT)
  • Develop an attitude of gratitude. This is essential if you want to keep your joy and stay strong. As pastor and author Joel Osteen states, “The seeds of discouragement cannot take root in the soil of a grateful heart.”

When you start feeling down and disheartened, don’t allow yourself to sink into depression. Instead, change your focus — from what you don’t have to what you do have. Count your blessings. You’ll be surprised how much you actually have and how much you’ve accomplished in life.

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

                  ---John Oatman, "Count Your Blessings," 1897

“In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP)

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV)

  • Look forward, NOT backward. You may have left a trail of failures and missed opportunities behind you — but ahead of you are the promises of our faithful God and endless possibilities. Besides, all your dreams lie in that direction. Move forward, not backward; and watch where you’re going, not where you’ve been.
Rrr-rappy Rance! (Translation: Happy Dance!)

Keep the same joyful (and hopeful) outlook on life that the Apostle Paul maintained: “…I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead….” (Philippians 3:13 NLT)

Your past may be filled with sorrows and mistakes, but your future is bright and full of joy. In fact, God proclaims, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ‘” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Rejoice in what the Lord is going to do in your life: “Stop being afraid…! Rejoice and be glad, because the LORD will do great things. Stop being afraid … because the desert pastures will bloom, the trees will bear their fruit, and the fig tree and vine will deliver their wealth.” (Joel 2:21-22 ISV)

Are you beginning to feel the joy? Good, now keep it and stay strong!

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