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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Being a good time manager

A lot of times when we think of time management we immediately jump to a discussion about Day-Timers, palm pilots, blackberry's or our to-do lists.

I am learning that it is much more than that. There is a spiritual dimension to it as well.

Patrick Morley has a great chapter on this in his book, "Man in the Mirror".

Nido Quebin writes, "One of the greatest reasons people cannot mobilize themselves is that they try to accomplish great things. Most worthwhile achievements are the result of many little things done in a single direction."

That is so true. God always provides enough time to accomplish His plans. We need to stop always going for the "long bomb" and run more dependable short yardage plays.

Let me give you an example of that. My father founded and was president of International correspondence Institute for over 30 years. Over a million people accepted Christ during that time. He was continually busy administrating the ministry in over 100 countries, raising money and leading the school overall.

Yet, I remember a time in Bombay, India when we were there as a family. We were walking back to our hotel and there was a man in the street asking for money. Dad stopped, talked with him, shared the gospel and gave him money.

I have never forgotten that. He took the time to minister to that man for what seemed like hours.

My dad did not become a great leader by doing great things, but by doing many little things in a single direction. He didn't set out to be great, but to be faithful.

We all have 168 hours a week.

It's more than a tips and techniques problem. It is a strategic problem. The issue is not so much memorizing twenty clever ideas to help accomplish every item on our "to do" list, though tips and techniques are helpful

The issue is a clear understanding of God's purpose for our lives, living by biblical priorities, and making plans that reflect God's will for our lives.

The progression? Find your purpose, set priorities, make your plans and formulate your goals - in that order. My goals should always come from my plans and my plans from my priorities and my priorities from my overall purpose in life.

Most of the time, instead of going straight to God, we tell God what we are going to do. God then responds. Then we beg God to let us do it anyway. We humble ourselves and listen (if we are wise). And God tell us what He is going to do.

What if we went to God first? It would save us a lot of pain (I wish I could permanently learn this lesson - but I haven't).

I am trying to learn to be effective rather than just efficient. It's in my DNA to be efficient - I'm pretty good about that. But I don't want to arrive at the end of each day satisfied that I have done God's work. I want to arrive at the end of the day knowing I have done what God wanted me to do. Efficiency is doing the job right. Effectiveness is doing the right job.

I want to finish each day knowing that I have participated in at least something that will last.

Patrick Morley writes, "The cardinal time management question is this: Are you doing anything with your time that has the potential to last forever? In your "busy-ness" have you carved out time for good works which contribute to forever? Or are you so consumed with supporting a lifestyle or other personal ambitions that everything you are doing will be left behind?"

I challenge you today to mange your time by God's priorities, making your decisions under the premise that all of life is spiritual.

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