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 people — those 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 well–spent. 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.