by William Davis
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” – Ephesians 5:16-18
Time: there is just never enough—or is there? Most of us claim to be time-poor, yet we seldom evaluate our daily routines and schedules to identify opportunities for improvement. After all, that would take time! It is a shame that sometimes we as Christians can hardly find time for the One Who created time, God. A famous entrepreneur once said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” It is true! There are steps we can all take to maximize our efficiency and make time for the things that truly count.
Let us look at four ways to reclaim our time:
We must identify our time wasters.
Have we ever set aside our morning devotions because there was not enough time? We all have something that we enjoy doing that is not sinful or wrong to do, but it is a big time waster. Keeping a log of how we spend our day can be beneficial in identifying time wasters. We should track time on a piece of paper by sitting down at the end of the day to write down the things on which we spent our time. The results may be shocking. The ten minutes spent combing through Facebook may actually be closer to forty-five minutes. This will reveal a good breakdown of where time is really spent. Often, we will find out that we wasted much of our time on trivial things. As a result, when faced with the excuse of not walking with God because we “don’t have enough time,” we must look to see how much time we could have spent with Him that day.
We must shut it down.
If we are active on social media, the flashing notification light on our smartphone may be sucking us in more often than we think. Social media participation is habitual, especially when it is so accessible. We may be spending too much time on a daily basis refreshing our Facebook newsfeed. Uninstalling these apps can give us a few weeks to settle into a new routine. We may be surprised how much time this can free up.
We must maximize the gaps.
No matter the structure of our day, chances are there is gap time that can be utilized. Maybe some have an hour-long commute, twenty-minute breaks at work, trips to school, or school ball trips. These small snippets of time can add up to several hours a day. Too often we spend gap time checking our smartphones, but once we have uninstalled those social media apps, we should consider carrying our Bibles or some other book with us at all times. We can easily crush a chapter while waiting to see the doctor. We can also dedicate that time to projects, not hobbies, but things that need to be done. These would include homework (student), work (parents), or sermon ideas (youth pastor).
It may sound crazy, but this time is also good for a quick spiritual check-in. I worked at Chick-fil-A when I was in college. On my breaks in the breakroom, I would eat at this same Chick-fil-A and read my Bible. Other guys from the college that also worked there would walk across the road to another restaurant to get food, but I did not. I wanted to maximize my time. I had extra time, so I decided to read my Bible.
We must power the priorities.
Though there is always some time to be maximized in a day, it can come down to a choice. Would we rather do task A or task B? Knowing when to let something go is important. We should figure out what is really important and what we must get done today, then SCHEDULE it! Our walk with God ought to always be top priority! After all, the Bible says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) What is on the top of our priority list?
Most importantly, once we have started implementing changes to make the most of our time, we must be careful not to fall back on old habits. We should not be afraid to conduct a time study every few months, especially because the usual workload, or life in general, has seasonal peaks. Keeping on top of our schedules does not have to be a struggle if we will be mindful and stay on top of it!