This is a guest post written by Sue Nelson at Woman of Noble Character.
God has bestowed upon us the precious resource of time. We have twenty-four hours in every day. Seven days in each week. Each of these moments is valuable to God. How are we spending that precious gift of time? Are we spending our moments on things that truly matter to Him and to His promise of eternity?
It is only when we are willing to give God the best moments and hours of our day that we can truly experience an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Unfortunately, many of us give God only what is left over after we have wasted our time on earthly things.
We are so “busy” with the daily tasks of our lives – laundry, cooking, errands, raising children, caring for husbands, work, ministry (I’m sure we can all add tons more to this list!). We wonder, “How can I fit God into this?” Or “sounds great, but how do I handle Bible study on top of everything else”?
As you go through your days, prayerfully examine the motives behind why you spend time doing the things that you do. When evaluating any daily activity, ask yourself these questions: Am I doing this for selfish reasons, or Christ-honoring ones? Is this activity purely frivolous, or does it serve a higher purpose?
Here are some ways you can tell whether a task or activity truly has eternal value or not:
It causes you to draw closer to God or learn more about Him.
It builds meaningful relationships with people God has placed in your life.
It helps you bless or encourage others and assists you in sharing the love of Christ with them.
It helps you become better equipped for the things God has called you to do.
It leaves you peacefully refreshed instead of frustrated or distracted.
It bears “good fruit” instead of “bad fruit” in your life (see Gal 5:19-26).
Just like journaling the food you eat when you are trying to lose weight or tracking your expenses for budgeting, it may help to keep track of how you spend your time and examine if each of these activities serves God’s purpose for you or your earthly desires.
After you prayerfully examine how you are spending your time, consider where you can make changes. You may wish to incorporate some of my best time management tips below.
• Don’t be a slave to your inbox. Check emails three or fewer times per day (say 9am, 1pm and 5pm)
• Make lists of what you have to do. You can keep lists by how long a task takes to complete (2 minutes, 5 minutes, 30 minutes). When you have a few spare minutes tackle something on the list. Alternatively, you can keep lists by priority: High priority – must get this done today. Medium priority – must get this done this week or Low priority – get this done this month. Tackle your lists when you are at your peak – for me, it is early morning.
• Multi-task. So, you feel you can’t miss this week’s episode of The Voice. No problem. Commit to handling a task while you are watching. Consider folding laundry or purging your purse or magazines. Something that does not require much concentration.
• Learn to say no. I know you really want to volunteer to serve at the bake sale, but perhaps you can donate a cake or cookies, instead. You can toss the cake in the oven while you are doing something else. On the other hand, you can even BUY a cake. Yes, you can and it is ok to do so. Remember that your time is valuable and you can’t do it all without going a bit crazy.
• Consider keeping your phone on silent. You don’t have to answer every call that comes in. Check your voice messages once or twice a day. It’s amazing how quickly phone calls eat up our time.
• Get in the habit of routines. For example: do dishes, wipe out sink, sweep kitchen floor before you go to bed). For more on establishing routines and how they help you sanely keep up on your home, see this article: http://womanofnoblecharacter.com/routines-getting-organized/ In it, I also share two printables to get you started with home management routines.
• Set aside time each week to schedule your time. Use a calendar (paper or digital) and write in every appointment, practice, meeting, etc. Then find blocks of time where you can fit in the tasks on your to-do list. Scheduling saves time and stress. You won’t as easily forget to do important things on your list.
• Choose your outfit the night before (for the kids, too!). This will save time trying to find the right outfit in the morning.
• Make lunches the night before.
• Prepare breakfast the night before. Even if you just have cereal, you can take out the bowl, spoon, cereal, beverage glass, etc.
• Use a timer to accomplish tasks. If you know you only have a thirty-minute block of time to get something done, set a timer so you don’t run over and run late for something else. It can be easy to lose track of time when we are focused on a task.
Are you using your time in ways that are pleasing to God? Ask Him to shine a light on any areas that do not reflect His will for you.
I’m praying for you!
Because of Him,
Sue Nelson is a Certified Professional Organizer and Interior Redecorator, as well as a ministry leader, wife, mom of four and Mimi to three. Most of all, she is passionate about Jesus. She loves to serve Christian women by helping them live a Proverbs 31 life in today’s world. Her site, Woman of Noble Character provides tools and resources for the Christian woman to grow in their faith, deepen their relationship with their husbands and manage their home.
Sue lives in rural North Central Missouri with her husband and a myriad of pets. She runs on coffee and Jesus.
For more information about Sue, see the links below: