< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Part Two: Managing your time

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Part Two: Managing your time

So what constructive things can we do to make our lives less hectic and more fulfilled?

1. Let done be done – give a task your best and then let it be finished!

2. Boss your time – look at your calendar to see what it says about your priorities. Really decide what you want to be doing – don’t let anyone else tell you what you want to be doing. If you want to be a stay at home mom – don’t ever let anyone tell you should be in the work force because what you’re doing isn’t important.

If you want to switch from some “high powered” job or professional title and become a personal trainer or florist – don’t let society pressure you into thinking just because it doesn’t pay as well – it’s not as good.

My brother, a Lutheran minister, was the assistant bishop for his conference in Philadelphia. After a couple years of that it was “time” to become bishop and everyone expected him to. But, he turned it down because he went in to the ministry to preach and be with a congregation. Gordon has a notebook on every single family in his church. He visits every house surrounding the church for however many miles – on his bike – to invite those people to church. His church grew from about 50 to 500 people while he was there. For him – being a bishop with its politics, its meetings and the paper work – just wasn’t important – even though everyone else told him the title was.

A dedicated cardiac surgeon will place patient care ahead of a golf game.

An effective teacher will stay after school to help a student rather then go shopping.

A committed critical care nurse is more eager to take care of her patients then fill out insurance forms.

Some executives are voluntarily downshifting to spend more time with their families.

Decide your goals – making sure they fit with God’s goals – and then control your time for your goals.

Also, while you are bossing your time, allow flextime. Build a cushion even as much as 25% extra for those unexpected moments you don’t want to miss. Basically refocus your life on what really matters.

3. Learn to say no – BUT, say it for the right reasons. Many times we say yes to a position or job or committee only because we are flattered to be asked. Other times we don’t know how to turn someone down. We don’t think we have a great reason, we don’t want them to think badly of us, but no one can do everything that everyone wants them to do.

4. Measure life by quality – Stop judging your life by how many committees you’re on. How many commitments. It’s ok to walk on the beach, read a magazine in the hammock, sit with your spouse and watch the sun go down, spend an afternoon fishing, play a sport or listen to music. Women especially feel guilty taking time out to relax. I think that’s why we plan so many family outings – then we can do something fun, but it's still sort of like you’re doing it for your kids or husband. We should just enjoy life more. It’s not only OK, it’s good!

And finally – again – use Jesus as your model for using time. Ask yourself at the beginning of the day how many hours you are willing to place in God’s hands for Him to use as He chooses. If life happens in the interruptions like I’ve heard Gloria Gaither say – we can’t be too busy and tied to our schedules for God to interrupt us!

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