I was telling a friend yesterday that the hardest part of being self-employed can be boiled down to a simple two-word answer: time management. Students and working adults alike tremble at the mere mention of it. Time management. I shudder as I write it down and yet every single day I pull on my proverbial boots and prepare to face yet another battle of “parry and thrust” with the all-too-familiar struggle against wasting my precious, God-given time.
How can I possibly spend time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study, manage a small business, commit 4-5 hrs per day to study for law school, take care of household chores and responsibilities, spend quality time with my 7 brothers and sisters, be No. 1 errand-runner, family Computer-Troubleshooter-In-Chief, and a sane person – all in the relatively small amount of time I seem to have each day?! For me, mastering time management has come down to living under priorities, not pressure. Let me be clear, I’m no expert at this. I’m on a learning continuum that seems to never get easier or shorter, but I found some helpful thoughts from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15 – 6:18.
Paul applies his teaching by identifying main priorities in every area of a person’s life.
- Worship and fellowship (Eph. 5:19-20)
- Church functioning (vs. 21)
- Marriage (vs. 22-33)
- Duties of children (Eph. 6:1-3)
- Parenting (vs. 4)
- Employees (vv. 5-8)
- Bosses (vs. 9)
- Personal spiritual priorities (vv. 10-18)
I don’t mean for this to be a list arranged in any particular order. Rather, the important thing is that all of these primary priorities should be fulfilled before any lesser priorities (politics, knitting, soccer; you know what it is) receive time and energy. I noticed that I sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time on these lesser priorities that rob from my primary areas. Articles by the millions and books by the thousands have been written on how to manage one’s time well. That is not the purpose of this post.
Mainly, I wanted to get you thinking about what the Bible has to say concerning the use of a Christian’s time. I teach my students at CollegeBuilder how to use an Assessing My Priorities (AMP) worksheet which was developed to help Christians apply Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:15 – 6:18. Starting from scratch, the student lists every activity that he thinks he should be doing to please the Lord in every area of his life. He then prioritizes them, assigns blocks of time to each area, and generally has to cut out one or more (usually more) activities that do not rank high enough to be a “keeper”. This is an excellent tool to help students realize the importance of wisely focusing on activities that matter from a spiritual standpoint in a time-bound world. It’s not a bad way to keep your sanity either 🙂
– Jonathan Covey, CollegeBuilder Coaching Advisor