No sunshine and lollipops today. This is a challenging post. Please know that I still love you.
I do a lot of stuff; you can ask me sometime and I’ll tell you all about it. A lot of people have been asking me how I make time to do this stuff; wether its reading a book or two a week on top of daily scripture study, writing a blog post every weekday, running a real estate business, serving my community, and so on.
People think I’m some kind of time management ninja. I promise, I’m not…
The question usually comes coupled with a thinly veiled lamentation about “being too busy” to do x or “not having enough time” to do y. Sometimes the assumption is that I must have a little too much free time on my hands. Surely if I were as busy as you were, I couldn’t possibly make all of this stuff happen.
This is me calling out a few erroneous ways in which we manage time:
1. We Hide Behind an Inability to “Make Time”
I’ll let you in on a little secret…
No one can make time!
God made time. He created it a long time ago. It is our most precious resource. It is a gift. Time is a finite system which operates under definite rules. There are a million different abstract directions we can go with this. Instead of veering off on a deep philosophical bender, let’s concede that we’re working within a closed system consisting of 24 hours a day.
Back to the point, we can’t make time. We can only spend it. You’ve got 24 hours in a day. A certain number of those hours are lost to sleep. For me, that number is 5.5. That’s the way my body works best. Unfortunately, there’s no good way to redeem that time, so go ahead and subtract those hours and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you please.
That leaves me with 18 and a half useable hours in the day to do whatever it is that I’ve decided that I need to do, which leads us to the next point…
2. You Need to Do ___ , But You’re “Too Busy” to Do It
The snarky reply would be, “Then I guess you really don’t need to do that.”
I’m sorry to be the bearer of good news, but you’re not too busy to do anything. Our schedule is the product of our own design, whether we acknowledge that or not. To deny this simple fact is to forfeit responsibility for our most precious and painfully finite resource.
If you have a day job working from 9 to 5, it is because you’ve decided that your job is important. This is completely reasonable. We all need to earn a living. We all need to eat.
But how do we define ‘a living’ and how much do we really need to eat?
What if you could decrease your lifestyle in a manner which allows you to live on 25 hours of work a week? I’m sure half of you just balked at that suggestion. There is nothing wrong with that. Just know that there are 15 hours in play there. You’ve chosen to fill those hours with work. That’s ok. I make the same decision almost every week.
What else uses up our time and tricks us into thinking we’re too busy?
TV? Facebook? Twitter? Those are just a few ideas. You can fill in the blanks.
3. “You don’t understand. You must not be as busy as I am…”
It’s not a question of wether or not we’re busy, because time is being spent regardless of your action within that time. “Busy” just means you’ve filled your time with lots of stuff, but does what you’re doing actually matter? Does it help you get where you want to be? Does it make a difference?
The answers to the following questions are your own. I reserve no judgement whatsoever.
Read this if you want to see how I feel about judging folks.
The point here isn’t to devalue what you’re choosing to do with your time. The point is to challenge you and make you think hard about it.
Are 5 hours a week on Hulu really more important to you than spending those 5 hours reading a book that will increase your knowledge and make you more intellectually valuable to the people around you?
Is catching up on office work during a holiday more important than a day at the beach with your family?
Are 4 hours partying on a Friday night, followed by 12 hours of “sleeping it off,” more important to you than turning in early and having an intimate and meaningful breakfast conversation with some friends on Saturday morning?
Would you rather work an extra 10 hours this week to earn a little more cash or spend those 10 hours creating a business or platform that will lead to amazing things in both your life and the lives of your friends and family?
Is an afternoon’s worth of playing video games more profitable than spending that time in study, prayer, and closeness with God?
None of these activities are inherently “bad” things (depending on your definition of partying.) They are conscious decisions we make concerning the use of our time.
For the record:
- I watch a couple hours of Hulu each week.
- I work on some holidays.
- I occasionally stay out late.
- I work long hours most weeks.
- I play video games here and there.
4. I Just Don’t Have Enough Time To Do That
Then none of us do. Unless you know you’re going to die at 11:00 PM tonight, you’ve got the same amount of time as everyone else does today. It’s time to stop stressing out about finding that 25th hour and start focusing on how to optimize the existing 24.
We all need to grab a hold of our time and use it to the fullest. We can only define for ourselves what matters most and what truly deserves the devotion of our most precious resource.
It is my prayer that you would take the time to seek out what’s most important to you and start to align your schedule with that. Don’t ever sell yourself short into thinking you don’t have the time to do what you really need to do in order to be the person that God has created you to be.
I promise, you have the time.
What do you not have the time to do today?