Archives for category: time management

outoforderYou see this sign and what do you immediately know: something isn’t working correctly or is broken and needs to be repaired.

I was reading an article by Mike Adams on Townhall.com when I began to think of other ways we are hurt by getting things out of order. You’ve heard the old expression, ‘getting the cart before the horse’, but putting things in that order really is a funky way of moving a cart around, especially if it’s loaded.

Putting feelings before our will/our faith.  Feelings or emotions are the last things that should guide any decisions we make or conclusions we draw.  When we forsake our will and its adherence to the Truth of God’s Word to how we feel about people and things, we will always fall short of the truth. How? By focusing our aim on something that falls short to begin with. Not one of us is perfect or completely right so why would I allow my will to settle for falling short because I might feel better about it.  In the end, feelings don’t account for much. If I feel great about myself but I don’t trust Jesus, I’m still lost even though I feel good about where I am. If I feel terrible about myself but I don’t trust Jesus, I’m still lost even though I’ll be depressed when I die. Have faith in God and let your feelings follow.

Putting the praise of people ahead of the praise of God. This is a close cousin of  putting feelings ahead of our faith. Who is going to validate your life? Who tells you you’re good? If it’s people, know that you will be aiming at a moving target for what is an approved response.  If it’s God, know that the standard you seek to attain will be the same: yesterday, today, and forever, though not popular at given times, seasons, or places.

Putting convenience before our commitments. How many good things could we have accomplished if we didn’t give in to procrastination or momentary laziness?  How many times have we excused ourselves from following commitments by saying we will catch up to them later?

Making decisions and commenting on subjects before seeking the Lord in prayer.  How many complaints and conflicts can be diffused before they begin by simply asking the complainer or the conspirator, “How have you been praying about this?”  “What part of the Scripture led you to this conclusion or course of action?”

If you would like to add to this list, please do. How do things get out of order in your life or in the lives of ones you love?  Help me know where the turn-around battle needs to be fought.

Remember, being out of order is meant to be a temporary situation. There is nothing, by grace through faith, that can’t be restored or turned around.

refreshingHow do we avoid long dry spells? What do we do when we know we’ve reached a stalemate somewhere between faith and joy? We’re not doing anything wrong. We may have grown weary from doing the right thing repetitively. Jesus has prayed for us so we don’t get stuck in the middle of faith and joy and call it peace. Jesus has prayed for our joy to be full. So, how can we revive our joy and keep things fresh?

  1. We can make sure we’re abiding in Christ. We have habits that daily connect or reconnect us with Jesus.  We may need to designate space and time each day to ensure that happens. I remember when as a young boy, we worked the fields on the farm. Getting tired was inevitable. Feeling word down happened all the time. Because we knew it was going to happen, we always reserved a shady spot to set the ice cold water  and snacks. Reaching the end of a row we could take a quick break, take in that refreshment, feel a little bit of a breeze, and then get back at it.
  2. We can ask for revival and renewal in Jesus’ name. Turning to the Lord in repentance and prayer always opens us to a special season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3: 19)
  3. We can learn something new, especially something new about the gracious way God works in our lives. “I keep my eyes always on the LORD… You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16: 8a, 11)
  4. We can find someone who appreciates what we’re doing. If we’re getting tired doing the right thing, we can find someone who has been encouraged or blessed by our faithfulness. It’s not that hard to do and if you can’t find a human being handy, then ask the Lord to share through the Holy Spirit and remind you of the prize you are pursuing and the reward you will receive.

Which way helps you get your joy restored and elevated?  What’s the last thing you learned that reignited and awakened your joy?  Do you have people around you that affirm your gifts and strengths?

beginendReverse engineer your way forward. This will help you focus on the things you do really well and delegate those things that would gum up your progress if you had to do them.

You’ve heard the phrase, ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’?  Don’t spin your wheels, either; resolving to do the same thing everyday that you already know you don’t know how to do.

We don’t need to fill our day with stuff to do or things to worry about. Jesus said, everyday will have its own fill of that. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5: 15 – 17)

Is there any part of your life that you are trying to make more affordable but what you are really doing is wasting your time?

Have you identified the 20% of your work that produces the 80% of your results?

If you know what it is, do others know? Do you allow yourself to be pulled away from what you do best by the demand of others to do something which wastes your time?

Are you putting a plan in place to delegate work to others who do it more gladly and productively than you do?  Don’t assume because you don’t like to do something, no one likes to do it. For someone, what is sour to you is sweet to them. Find out with whom you can exchange work and benefit the both of you.

 

morningsThere is a version of meditation that is adapted from the Lord’s Prayer for those of us who need help ordering the first few moments of our day. I call it Seven.

  1. Stand: It begins with the focusing of your will upon the day and asks three questions from Ephesians, chapter 6. How will I stand apart unto God, today? How will I stand against the schemes of the devil? How will I stand alert to the opportunities of this particular day? These focusing questions can take place while you are still in the bed, or while you are in the shower, or when you are sitting with your coffee, or while driving to work. I usually try to set this down in a journal because I’m kind of ADD and if I don’t spell it out, I tend to go to the next thing instead of taking my stand.
  2. Scripture: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10: 17) Every morning should start with some word from the Lord, some clarifying revelation or expectation for your work or your relationships. I like to follow the Life Journal Bible Reading and use their acrostic, SOAP: Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer.
  3. Singing: The way I encourage myself and build up my faith is through singing. You can use songs you already know: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs or make up one of your own.
  4. Supplications: This is where I intercede for others and pray specifically for the Lord to bless people in my life or within my sphere of influence.
  5. Stations: This is the time for visualization, putting myself in the particular settings and situations I know I will occupy during the day and asking God to help something significant to come out of those blocks of time or those particular conversations.
  6. Silence: This can be very brief or an extended time where you wait upon the Lord’s whisper giving you direction, assurance, or a peace-filled resolve to get going. This is also the time I usually do my morning stretches.
  7. Sending Steps: What is the first thing you need to do now that you have been before the Lord?  Ask yourself the One Thing Question: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Don’t grab your phone and check your messages first thing. Don’t go sit at the computer and see what’s breaking in the world. There is always something breaking and falling apart in the world. Find out first how Jesus will hold things together for you, today!

Maybe for you, you need to try just one or two of the Seven until they are familiar. You start where you can start.