We wrote a newsletter on coaching entitled The Price of Success. After a couple weeks of feedback it’s apparent that time management is a bottleneck for right-brained, spirit-led believers. Left-brain engineering types are fine with lists and diets, and thrive on getting them done. The rest of us can never find the energy to live off a list. Here’s why: there are two philosophies of time, which are chronos (the elapse of clock time) and Kairos (opportunity). Our theological priority is being about the Father’s business, putting the Kingdom first, and hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit – all Kairos moments.
The problem is that we do those spontaneous things apart from understanding our personal destiny or the priorities of our own life. God is doing many different things in different mountains and with different people. You and I can hear them all. Our only means of knowing which are for us is a perspective on our own life purpose, destiny and the goals that go with our personal calling. Here’s the reality: most of us can’t articulate our purpose in life. We have no paradigm for knowing which leading to respond to – that’s called “confusion.” Distinguishing between priest and King is a start. Knowing your mountain is even better. But, our life purpose just can’t be generalities or we won’t know which leading to respond to. So we:
- Respond to the agenda or leading of other people (putting out fires),
- Get temporarily excited about things that turn out to be fruitless or dead works,
- Never achieve a sense of personal satisfaction, knowing we’ve been stewards of our own time and life.
Know your purpose and values – Time management is a misnomer. We all have the same amount and none of us can speed it up or slow it down. The essence of the concept is “life management.” Do I know my direction and am I working on it? Can I write it down? It works better to have a purpose and a list of priorities than a plan… you and I should have both.
I do not run like a man running aimlessly… 1 Cor 9:26 NIV
We’ve got some great suggestions in The Price of Success, and Desire to Destiny was written around that same theme. Once I know my purpose, it’s much easier to write goals for this year, this month, this week and today. Without knowing our purpose, it’s nearly impossible to get a goal on paper, much less stick to it.
Do Less – Managing your life is as much about dropping activities as adding new ones. I’ve had plenty of time starting from the point that I realized Releasing Kings was my priority and I dropped everyone else’s agenda. I do network with lots of people and serve them and help them – but only if those activities are synergistic with my own life purpose. Life without being busy is way more fun.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 NIV
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest… Heb 4:11 NIV
Do more – I have no problem with being productive with my own life purpose and spending time with people and activities that go with my vision. I love being stretched into my destiny. It feeds my heart and makes my dream come true. I’m energized when I’m engaged in doing what I was created to do. It’s my spiritual “meat.” I’m not afraid to try as hard as I can or to work as hard as I can. I find my anointing most in the area of my purpose.
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4:34 KJV
Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor 9:24-25 NIV
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Col 1:29 NIV
Understand “your” priorities – All of our tasks can be divided into four categories:
(Related to you dream, purpose, values or goals)
|1) Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects)
|2) Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships)
|Not important – to me
(Not related to your dream, purpose, values or goals)
|3) Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters)
|4) Not Urgent, Not Important
“Trivia, time wasters”
Quadrant 1 activities are urgent and important – often called problems or crises. Focusing on Quadrant 1 makes it appear bigger and bigger until it dominates your life. Urgency can become “addictive.” We can get a temporary high from solving an urgent and important crises. However, effective people spend less time in Quadrant I, and more in Quadrant 2.
Quadrant 2 activities are important, but not urgent. Working Quadrant 2 is the heart of personal time management. These activities are in the areas of preparation, prevention, planning, relationship building, and values clarification.
Quadrant 3 activities are urgent and not important, and often misclassified as Quadrant 1. These items belong to someone else’s dream… interruptions, certain phone calls, e-mail, and meetings. These activities may be meeting others’ priorities and needs, but not your own.
Quadrant 4 is the escape Quadrant – activities that are not urgent and not important: busy work, “escape” activities, and excessive TV for example. Effective people stay out of Quadrants 3 and 4 because they aren’t central to their own heart. They shrink Quadrant 1 down to size by spending more time in Quadrant 2.
Effective time management is maximizing #2; reducing time wasters, not responding to urgent and unimportant activities and focusing on important, but not urgent activities. This will help you “do the right things” to fulfill your own heart’s desire and put the Kingdom first.
Balance your heart – Your heart needs some time in each of the following four areas. We do spend most of our time working (typicalliy 40 hours a week). However, budgeting time for play, nature and God, keeps our hearts vital, healthy, intuitive and creative.
- Productive time is working on the desires of your heart. Ideally, this should be our vocation and it should create wealth. God designed us to work on our dream and fulfill our purpose for being here. Working on our heart’s desire feeds our soul. In fact, “seeking the Kingdom first” means that I understand the desires God put in my heart and I am pursuing those desires (Mt 6:33).
- Play time is simply re-learning to be child-like, having fun and laughing. It can be entertainment, movies, art, a hobby, fellowship with friends, sports, sex with your spouse… you just have to enjoy it.
- Nature time is getting outdoors and enjoying God’s creation. Going for a walk, exploring, enjoying animals and scenery are great ways to recalibrate.
- Spiritual and Intuitive time is simply time in the presence of God. This can be your devotional prayer, worship, church, meditation, etc. It’s the time I set aside to hear God’s voice, experience His presence, praise His name, and talk to him. It’s your well spring for prophetic creativity.
I also found 10 suggestions on how to stop sabotaging your personal time management that are worth reading from Glenn Hirsch, Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.