“Redeem the time for the days are evil” Ephesians 5:16
Time is an enigma. It goes too quickly for those who are enjoying it, but too slowly for those who are suffering. It is good when you make the most of it but evil when you waste it. And mysteriously some people consistently have a way of wringing more out of a 24 hour day than others. How can that be?
Worst of all, no matter what you do, time relentlessly marches on. It is said that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer your get to the end, the faster it goes. Anyone with graying hair can confirm that fact.
Thus throughout most of my life I have been a student of time management. I am always looking for ways to redeem my time. One of my inspirations has been John Wesley, the great preacher and founder of Methodism in the 1700s. Like so many accomplished men and women in history, he was also a time management expert. As an inveterate preacher of the gospel it is documented that he traveled 250,000 miles on horseback during his lifetime. We also know that he made the most of that travel time by reading voluminously and writing sermons and books all while in the saddle. But if that were not enough, he also made it a habit of reading while he walked.
I just learned this week that my friend and fellow pastor at Bridgewood Community Church, Mark Spencer also reads while he walks. In fact he reported that he can read more efficiently and retain more while walking than sitting. And I thought I was a time management freak. I am going to have to try that.
It is illustrative that everybody has their own unique time management tricks that enable them to be more effective and accomplish more. That is why it is always interesting to hear how accomplished people make the most of a typical day. Invariably you will always pick up some great tips for redeeming time in your day as well. What are some secrets you have discovered?
Like Wesley, several of the best returns that I get are also in multitasking when I am on the go. In the car I typically limit myself to doing one of three things. When I am with others, I try to maximize the time in visiting and deepening relationships with my traveling companions. That is a discipline for me and I have not always been the best at that. As an introvert my temptation has been to turn inward and make it “me” time; by listening to something, and if not driving, by reading or sleeping. But I have realized, for both my family and friends, the best use of the time in our frenetic world is to relate and not to retreat. I am working on that one.
When I am alone in the car I redeem the time by either turning the vehicle into a prayer closet or a classroom. As a prayer closet I use it for quiet meditation, listening to God and praying. As a classroom I make it a habit of listening to teaching CD’s, both of the religious and secular variety. Right now I am working my way through a college course on writing entitled “Exploring the Writer’s Craft.” Can you tell the difference? If not, my excuse is that I am not finished with the series.
Workouts are also great opportunities for redemptive multitasking. When I am running outside, which I try to do three times a week now that the snow is gone, I carry a small digital audio recorder to capture ideas that come to me. I get some of my most creative thinking done while out on a run and have literally dictated entire blogs and sermons while plodding along.
When I am in the gym, lifting weights or on a treadmill, I listen on my iPod to sermons and interviews from some of my favorite Christian leaders. I don’t particularly like lifting or treadmill running, but I find that I will sometimes extend my workout just to catch the end of an interesting podcast. That is time management at it’s best!
What ways have you discovered to redeem your time? Please share your secrets so we all can benefit.
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