I have been spending time looking at time. How I spend my time. What I use my time for. Where am I wasting my time. What needs to change to make better use of my time?
This is something I do at the end of every year as I look towards another new year. But this year I have begun the deep dive into my priorities a little early as I realize I have been wasting time with a number of relationships. I kept hoping that with a little more time and a fair amount of investment things within the relationships would change. Regretfully they have not and appear like they will not any time soon. So, an early look at how I have been using my time.
After all, there are only three things you can do with your time – waste it, spend it, and invest it. I want to always be doing the latter.
I am a fairly scheduled person. I need to be to continue being involved in the many projects, ministries, and relationships that I have. But, I need to continuously look at how I am investing my time. I read recently, “Perhaps the very best questions you can memorize and repeat over and over is, ‘What is the most valuable use of my time right now?’” Your answer to that question should shape any system you use to schedule your life and the way that you prioritize your activities, events, and relationships.
You should also ask yourself “When is my most valuable time?” Because you’ll want to always make the most of it. For me it’s mornings. When I recognized that I stopped scheduling breakfast meetings and morning coffee appointments. That was four decades ago. Imagine how much of my prime time would have gotten used up if I had allowed myself to meet with people, which I’m capable of doing anytime, during my prime productivity time. Instead, I use my prime time to read, study, research, and write.
Making that decision for me was fairly easy. Others have been more difficult. I am opportunity driven, and I tend to want to do everything and say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that opens before me. If one is good, four is better. I love saying ‘yes.’ I have a hard time saying ‘no.’ As a result, I get spread too thin. To deal with that I had to develop a system. I had to get tough and protect my most productive time as mentioned above. But, even harder, I had to learn to protect my personal time. As an introvert I desperately need time daily to be alone, to reflect, to journal, and to recharge. However, because I love people and enjoy ministering I tended to give away my personal time when a need arises or an opportunity knocks. Of course, that is simply not healthy and not maintainable. So, I have learned to protect my time and control carefully where I am investing my time. This is not always easy.
So, I am looking at my priorities. A little early as we are still a month away from the holiday season when iI normally look at priorities for the coming year. However, I have a relationship that has not worked out the way I though it would and prayed that it might. So, I am realizing that this particular relationship is currently not a wise investment of my time – professional and personal. And, there are several long-term ministry involvements that I also need to examining and seeing if it is wise to continue to invest my time in. So, I am drawing back somewhat as we approach a new year and a new season in life, resetting priorities and time usage.
Let me ask you the same questions:
What is the most valuable use of your time right now?
When is your most valuable and productive time?
Spend a few minutes thinking through where you are wasting or spending your time and make the needed adjustments so that you are investing your time wisely as a new year quickly approaches.