time management

I’m giving it ten minutes.

I’m giving it ten minutes. Simply starting a postponed project is usually more than half the battle. So I am committing to sitting at my computer keyboard for a mere ten minutes to see if I can at least start to write something. Here goes.

It has been nearly a month since my last blog post. My prolonged silence has been more lack of motivation than anything else. It is not as if I have had nothing to write about. An active thought life and daily experiences continually supply fodder for this writer’s rumination. And it is not as if I have been too busy, which is a common laundry basket in which we throw all our dirty little excuses. No, truth be told, I simply have not as the saying goes “gotten around to it.”

It raises an important question. Why is it often so difficult to overcome inertia, to get something rolling, when that something is the very thing that in the doing causes a person to derive great benefit and satisfaction? One answer is procrastination. Procrastination is a ten dollar word describing how we’re duped into replacing high priority, high return tasks with low priority, minimal return actions. In the financial world, and yours and my world for that matter, such careless investment is a projection for loss. Loss of progress, benefit to others, self satisfaction and respect

Winning the battle against the clock

This past Sunday, as part of my message on Living Like You Are Dying, I polled the congregation with regard to their battle with the clock. What I found, although not surprising considering the world in which we live, was a cause for concern. Nearly two thirds (60%) of all those in attendance acknowledged that they frequently or very frequently wish they could “slow the pace of my life and reorder some of my priorities.” And an additional 28% said they think about that occasionally. When given a list of things to choose from that they often regret, related to use of time, the top regret chosen by 73% of the people in attendance was “Not making the most of each moment.”

Bottom line, the poll confirmed that most people are too busy. As a result many are battling to slow their pace in life and would love to reorder their priorities. Does that describe you?

What would it be like to live in a world where we had all the time we needed to do the things that were really important. What if we never had to rush or never felt hurried? What if we were so in the present we could make the most of and savor each moment? That would genuinely be paradise would it not?

Living that way is possible and you don’t have to die and go to heaven to experience it.

To fully grasp that possibility we need to consider the life of Jesus.

3 Simple Ways to Beat Procrastination

Nearly everyone including myself battles procrastination. Researchers have found that at least 95 percent of people admit to falling prey to procrastination. And of those, approximately 20 percent would actually consider themselves chronic procrastinators. At one time I would have placed myself in that chronic procrastination category.

But I can honestly say that a combination of faith, bible knowledge, personal experience and age have turned me into a procrastination overcomer. I’ll admit that like most people I still have the occasional battle with procrastination, when it comes to doing things I do not want to do; but I have discovered some simple principles that have helped me immensely.

Procrastination when practiced regularly can develop into an art form. Like many people I was first captivated by the art of procrastination when I was in college. It was there I discovered two things about procrastination. If it were not for the last minute, I would not get anything done. And when it came to doing things I didn’t want to do, especially studying, someday tended to be every day of the week.

There has been voluminous research done on procrastination, hundreds of books written on the topic and countless principles posited for overcoming it. So it is with a due sense of humility that I offer my condensation of all that and everything I have learned into three simple principles that work for me. Here therefore are three ways I have discovered to beat procrastination.

Time & Relationship Management

“All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter.” Esther4:11 (NLT)

The Persian king Xerxes (or Ahasuerus depending on your translation) was a world ruler and likely the busiest men in his day. That coupled with his infatuation with his own sense of self importance apparently drove him to becoming a time management freak.

His ruthlessness in managing his priorities, to the point of killing anyone who dared to interrupt him, was known throughout the realm. Anyone wanting to do business with him or even any family member wanting to spend time with him risked their very lives in taking initiative to see him.

Imagine the fear of having to deal with, or worse yet having to live, with someone so task oriented and self-protective of his time? Watch out, if the old man is preoccupied, feeling overloaded or in a grumpy mood he could lop off your head for bothering him!

We would all be quick to agree that this is time management run amuck. It is a caricature of how detrimental it is when task management becomes exclusive of relationship management.

Wise time management is first and foremost relationship management.

The book of Esther, documenting the salvation of the Jews through the efforts of Mordecai and Queen Esther, is a great study in the priority of relationship management.

The To Don’t List

Our lives are built around “to do lists.” Like most people I keep ongoing and always growing to do lists. There is my work to do list, my home to do list, my call/write to do list, my reading to do list, my prayer to do list, my bucket to do list, and on and on the to do lists grow. These to do lists guide and inform my life of the ways in which I should and/or want to spend my time. But my recent study for a sermon I gave on the subject of the Sabbath, entitled “Faith to Rest” has sensitized me to the equal if not more important idea of keeping a “to don’t list.”

We live in a culture where “to don’t lists” are lost in the flood of to do lists. Our modern world is driven by a busyness that is a by product of the high value we place on accomplishment and accumulation. Consequently the idea of taking time to stop or cease things is anathema to our drive to keep the graphs of life moving up and to the right.

The Bible however confirms our real-life experience that the graph does move down as frequently and readily as it moves up. The passage of Ecclesiastes popularized by The Byrds’ song “Turn, Turn, Turn” in the mid 1960’s says it plainly and painfully. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) It might be summed up like this. There is a time to continue and a time to stop, a time to do and a time to don’t!

The word for Sabbath, derives from the Hebrew word shavat which is frequently translated rest, but more accurately means to cease or to stop (work/doing). The idea of the weekly observance of a Sabbath is a good place to begin when thinking about a “to don’t list.” Although there may be many bad or sinful things that should naturally go right to the top of our “to don’t lists,” the things we often overlook are the good things. Sabbaths were created by God as seasons to suspend even the productive and beneficial things in our lives for the higher purpose of renewed consecration to Him.

A proper “to don’t list” then should include bad things, good things that are simply not the best things and even the best things that need a rest.

Here is a list of clarifying questions that I am finding helpful in determining what things need to be priorities in creating a “to don’t list.”

1. What things in my life am I doing that I need

Scroll to Top