Wednesday, August 8

The Etiquette of Time Management

Has it every occurred to you that all of us are accountable for how our time is consumed?

Everyone is poor in at least one area of life.

Time management is rarely taught yet necessary to learn. Without it, gifted people underachieve. With it, average men shine. Some people claim that multitasking increases your time management and other experts argue that it wastes time in the long run. Some say, "Make a to-do-list," whilst others say that it just takes up more time.

A lack of time management will make you poor in at least one area of your life. Perhaps the issue of time management is reflected through poor relationships, poor health, poor attitudes, poor manners, or poor sleeping habits.

Regardless of what you struggle with, time management is essential for reaching your potential. How do you expect to be respectful, polite, and show gratitude, if your life runs on overdrive 24/7?

Has it ever occurred to you how uncivilized you have become toward others? Perhaps your inappropriateness is apparent to the people in your business and personal environments, yet you fail to acknowledge how your behavior has declined over time. For the most part, you get away with pushing others around verbally and when confronted with opposition to your distasteful ways you either brush the conflict under the carpet or deny that introspection or the need for correction exists.

At which point do those red flags appear and highlight the cascading effect of your words and deeds towards your spouse, child, loved one, colleague, or friend? Do you realize there is a cause and affect in our behavior?

If you can relate to anything I have said thus far, then I encourage you with this; something as simple as time management will benefit your relationships and your individual performance across the board.

If you are in business then you understand the need to schedule short and long-term goals. You are also aware of the importance of a steady flow of business and the decisions made to ensure that you are in fact, still in business next year.

Why do the majority of us handle relationships like they can maintain themselves?

If you were a plant sown into a new garden would you expect to survive if you were never attended to? You are positioned in a bed of sand with no nutrient-rich soil. Other than an occasional rainfall, you are never watered. In fact, soon after you are planted, a big fat grub comes along and gobbles you up into a stem existence.

Faith works in much the same way and will have no bearing if we put little effort or work into our relationships.

Every area of our life requires faith. Not just our business. It would do us well to measure those things that we consider a priority against what God has to say in the Scriptures. After all, he is the Author and Finisher of our faith and every one of us, Believer and non-believer, has a measure of faith.

The Bible says in Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

The evidence of how we appropriate our faith will eventually rise to the surface. The evidence of how you manage your time and nurture relationships will become apparent to everyone, including you.

Matthew 5-7 contains the Sermon on the Mount. In the midst of this message, Jesus addresses time management.

Our time is spent either laying up treasures on earth or in Heaven. God desires for every Believer to lay up treasures in Heaven. In verse 23 of Matthew 6, God says "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

God sees our treasure investment as a heart issue.

Our time is spent serving God or serving money. Mathew 6:24 teaches us that "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Mammon is the master we serve when we chase treasure on earth. According to Jesus we cannot serve both. Though we justify trying to have it both ways, we cannot. Much time is spent serving mammon out of fear instead of serving God by faith. We will always worry about our food and clothing. Jesus dispels our fear by commanding us to consider the well-fed birds and clothed flowers as evidence of His provision. You are far more valuable than a bird or a flower.
What makes a difference in our time management is parallel to our pursuits and the appropriating of them. In other words, we make time for what is important to us.

Allow me to unzip my heart and share a portion of my own life. I have owned, managed, achieved, and lived a very impressive life.

Over a number of years and a successful business in Sydney, Australia, our company turned over 8.5 million a year. Not bad for a small business. Great for life's comforts and treasures. Nonetheless, what lay before me was a wake up call from God and I had no idea it was brewing, much less, how it was to affect my future.

In 1999 God figuratively pulled the rug from under my feet and like Alice in Wonderland, I fell down a dark hole. There was zero knowledge of where I would land.

Unfortunately, I had lost focus on God and His plan for my life. With a passion for business, being the best, earning as much money as I could, God was a mere token in the equation.

Satan will use anything to distract us from what we are to pursue. He will make the package attractive, achievable, reasonable, and irresistible. What we do not realize is that God will use anything and everything to get our attention, even our earthly pursuits. What He will not do is put up with our disobedience.

My whole world was turned inside out. It did not ramp down through a fragile economy. Business was booming with great increase from every side. Metaphorically speaking, I was taken out by a Tsunami.

I lost everything; a husband, home, car, furniture, clothing, children, every possessions; prestige, power, position, sameness, friends, business, insurance, life-savings, securities, investments...everything, including a homeland for forty-five years.

Being left with the reality of who I was before an Almighty God, it was then that I learned to ":stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 13:15

It was then that I sought truth, wisdom, and understanding from the Scriptures, a book that forges faith, decisions, and pursuits.

Confidence in God is the grand safeguard in trouble and a preparation for deliverance from it. My strength had been anchored to the quicksand of society and in one clean swoop it all disappeared.

Never think it will not happen to you.

Our confidence must be the sum total of a faith in God alone and a reflection of what we pursue that is Eternally based.

Thirteen-years later, and I have never been stronger. Amidst the loss and heartache I go on to say "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."

Jesus desires to reward us greatly in Heaven and reminds us that the amount of time we have left to manage, is fleeting.

As a Believer, how should we manage our time?

  • Decide what is important to pursue. Matthew 6 teaches us that regardless of the good things we pursue, our priority must be to pursue God. You may have thoughts of your career, home, car, or anything else that falls under the canopy of material possessions. The Bible teaches us that God will add what we need when we first seek Him and His Kingdom. Pursue God first and your dream second.

Matthew 6:33 teaches "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

All these things...not just some things - ALL THESE THINGS!

  • Choose what helps you fulfill your purpose. What is your purpose? If you are a born-again Believer, your purpose is in sowing the Gospel. If you are the provider in your family, your purpose is to provide for the well-being of your family members.

What do you not want to fail at?
What do you want to accomplish?
What is the mission statement for your life?
What drives you to get up every morning?
What makes you go to work?
What inspires you to achieve?

Answering these questions helps us to define our purpose.

  • Schedule around your focus. A focus enables us to obtain our pursuits and fulfill our purpose. When managing time, only schedule those things that will achieve a result. There are urgent times that will beg for our attention. Those are things that force us to part with our time. There are important matters that we must care for. However, they do not squeeze us for our time.
Spend time on your pursuits and purpose. Avoid everything that is more than two steps from your focus.

The heart of the issue, is that we spend too much time doing things that point to nothing. Facebook is an example of spending too much time on something that leads to nothing and distracts us from our focus. Yes, it can be a great tool for social media and your business. However, the majority of people spend excess time on Facebook.

This begs a question? Have you spent as much time in your Bible and prayer this week as you have on Facebook?

  • Schedule your priorities.

What do you do that no one else can do?
What do you do that earns you the right to do what no one else can do?

Answering these questions will help you to define your priorities. 

In finishing, could you train someone to do what you do? Jesus did. He trained twelve men to turn the world upside down.

When prioritizing, give weight to the gifts that God uniquely poured into you.

Never forget, that in God's great mercy He provides for us whether or not we serve Him. What makes a difference in time management is that some people consume themselves with the pursuit of sustenance. Allow God to take care of all your needs while you pursue Him and lay up treasure in Heaven. We are accountable for how we consume ourselves each day, month, year---lifetime.

In His Strength,


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