Mastering Time Management

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” (Henry David Thoreau). 


I don’t know who exactly is reading this, but I’m going to try to describe your life as best I can: you live in a grey area of busyness and priorities. On one side, you claim that you are busy, whether with assignments, exams, work, church services, family responsibilities, social life, and the list can go on. On the other side, you neglect many aforementioned responsibilities, desensitized to how important these responsibilities really are. 


Our “busyness” has reached new levels where it has subconsciously made us redefine our priorities. We’ll spend hours on useless distractions and claim we’re busy, but in the end, what did we gain? Even when we do spend hours upon hours in church, once again claiming we are busy, what do we gain, if we are still neglecting our much needed quiet time with Him?


To be successful, we must revert our priorities, remove distractions, and plan harder, so when someone asks us “what are you so busy with?,” we may provide a fruitful answer. The following approach may help reestablish our priority areas and, ultimately, allow us to become masters of our time. 


1: Acknowledge the Importance of Time


For starters, our time is a gift from God since He is the Giver of all. Because time is a gift, we should be more cognizant of how we use our time, and use it in ways that He had intended for us. On the appointed day, when we will have to give an account before the Just Judge, we want to be able to tell God we used His gift wisely. Let this reality prompt us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). 


Our days on this Earth are like “vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We must take advantage of every minute we have, as every minute wasted in pleasures or wrong intentions is a minute forever lost. 


2: Determine God’s Purpose for Your Life


Now that we can all agree that your time is a gift not worthy of wasting, we need to determine what God’s purpose for our lives are, to know where to spend His Gift to us. 


Regardless of whether you feel as though you know what God’s purpose is for you, the busyness and distractions of life often make us forget our purpose and desensitized to our true responsibilities. 


Though it is challenging to know what God wants you to do when you may not hear His voice or understand His signs, we are to be persistent in prayer for God’s wisdom, when making a decision. After we make the decision, we pray for Him to bless the decision, and from there, depending on whether this door stays open or closes, we slowly learn what God’s purpose for our life is. 


God’s purpose for each of us is different, but it is rarely within His purpose to neglect our earthly responsibilities (whether school, work, or leisure); rather, He works with our earthly responsibilities to glorify His Name (Colassians 3:17). 


God’s purpose for our life is not to be slaves to our earthly responsibilities, but to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 6:33). Both our spiritual life and our earthly responsibilities are part of God’s purpose for us, but they will never be successful if done haphazardly, without the use of a divinely crafted plan. 


3: Make a Plan and Establish Priorities 


Now that we have our purpose defined, we can create a daily, weekly, and yearly plan to grow spiritually while upholding our earthly responsibilities for the glory of God. Just knowing what we have to do, without having a plan on how to do it, gives the Devil ample room to penetrate our thoughts. We all want to grow spiritually, but without having a defined plan with priorities, we will always fall into the trap of distractions, even if those distractions seem beneficial. We need to plan with Christ and His Wisdom working through us. 


Our plan should be something we are capable of completing within a given time period. God is an abundant Giver, He would never provide us with insufficient time to achieve His purpose for us.  If we feel that we don’t have enough time, we are probably spending our time on what’s unimportant, rather than our defined purpose. In all that we do, we should ask ourselves, “What am I gaining from this to achieve God’s purpose for me?”


There is still danger in being a slave to our plan, even if the plan includes all the right things. When God unexpectedly opens or closes a door that is contrary to our plan, we need to obey with open eyes and a willing heart, and change our plan accordingly. 


4: Follow your Plan


A strong work ethic is needed in order to successfully follow through on one’s plan. We can look at God, the Creator of the World, as a model for our work ethic: He Created in six days, and rested on the seventh. Is our work ethic anywhere near this six to one ratio? 


In the Parable of the Talents, we see the tragedy of wasted opportunities and the importance of working hard until the Lord comes. We should apply this same principle to our time and work ethic. 


Remember to never fall into the trap of neglecting the importance of what you once defined as a priority. Since God is Timeless, but unfortunately our assignments and exams are not, it’s so easy to push off our quality time with Him for the sake of our assignments. I’m not telling you to not do your assignments (pls do your homework), but if a plan is carefully created, you should never reach a point of choosing between your time with Him and your schoolwork, as there is time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1). 


“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Matthew 6:34). 

However, this doesn’t mean to not plan for tomorrow. Despite all our “busyness”, when we plan wisely through Our Timeless Creator, the less anxious we will be, and the less we are mindless slaves to our to-do lists.