Addition by subtraction

We so often have a hard time saying “No” to anything. That would be admitting that you couldn’t do something, that you’re not Superwoman. Who wants to do that?

Managing your time and responsibilities well will involve saying “No” to some things. They will be good things, but they do not fit. When you are able to look at your options and take out the ones that are not best for today, you are sharpening your focus.

Just like clearing the dinner table before you pull out the homework, clearing your schedule will enable you to better deal with your priorities.

  • You will have the available energy because you are not spending it all before you get to what is truly important.
  • You will have more time to devote to what you need to do because your agenda is not crammed full — too full to do anything well.

Shona Murray addresses this concept, pruning “with the sharp knife of no” on big and small things, in the book Refresh:

With my life purposes in one hand and my limited capacity in the other, I can prune needs and expectations so that I am doing the most important things well and with joy, and I can have a sense of accomplishment as I enjoy some downtime.

Remember, you are the gatekeeper for your schedule. You decide what you need to do. You run your schedule; your schedule should rule you. Flex your muscles, and practice saying “No” today! It is part of using your time wisely, and you will manage your time all the better for it.

A Little Bit Better

Today’s the day — the first day of the new year! Whether you are a dedicated resolution maker or just enjoy a fresh start, it’s a milestone day for all of us.

My challenge for you this year: Get a little better at something of value. You don’t need to become an expert this month, just improve a bit. Take some time to look at your areas of responsibility, list your strengths and weaknesses, and tackle one weakness. Just one.

Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.elephant-1598359__340

Looking at the Proverbs 31 description is usually intimidating and overwhelming. The breadth of knowledge and skill used there is impressive. But take a deep breath, step back, and think of all the things you already do. There is a wide variety there! If you continue that trend, adding a little more each year, learning something new, sharpening your tool set — think of how much more skill you will have in a few years. You are capable and are able to become even better.

This can be a brand new skill that would be useful but you’ve never tried before (like bread-making or book-keeping) or just getting a little better at what you already do (cleaning the house or studying or calendaring). Either way is progress.

Take advantage of the resources available to you, whether that be through people you know or online or at the library. We are blessed with so much to use for learning. A friend holding you accountable helps a ton (and keeps you from settling for less out of laziness or discouragement).

Sharing what you are learning to encourage others is a fringe benefit of these efforts. We’d love to hear what you will tackle and your plan to do it. Comment below or on social media. We’re in this together.

Happy New Year!

 

Using Your Time Wisely

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

How do we make the best use of time? That’s a HUGE question, and one we will not cover completely. We discussed this briefly in an earlier post. But still there are a few more points to help us make the best use of our time today.

In the verses earlier in Ephesians 5, we can see more background on the “unwise” and “evil” from the verses above. As much as we would like to walk in sunshine each and every day — and though we DO walk in light if we are children of God — that does not mean the darkness is not real or present. Sin abounds. Part of walking wisely will involve the rejection of sin and acts of darkness and evil. We need to be careful to watch for habits that support what is wrong (i.e., laziness, gossip, selfishness). Getting together with a friend can be valuable and enriching time, or it can be a gossip session that tears both of you down. Taking care of our responsibilities is necessary, but only as an expression of our love for God and our neighbor — not at the expense of those loves! Guard your heart and home, and you will be using your time well.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

The next verse gives more detail on the foolish vs. wise contrast. If we are wise and making the best use of our time, we will be continually wrapping our minds around what the Lord’s will is. What has He said is right? What pleases Him? What will reflect His character and glorify Him most in any situation? This, of course, will take time in the Word — as much as you can wrestle into the schedule at this season of your life.

These parts of using your time well are harder than some others. Remember, although it can be a struggle, the reward is great!

 

Personal Goal-Setting Session Giveaway

Are you thinking about New Year’s resolutions? Are you afraid to think about them because they’ve failed before?

Personal coaching is a tool for you to use as you seek to handle all your responsibilities calmly and confidently. Strategies and support are at hand as you successfully create a resolution — or just a personal goal — and then work the action plan to see it happen. Instead of viewing goals as a certain failure, you can face each year with confidence!

IN their own words

Enter the giveaway for one personal goal-setting session below. You can win and walk away with clearly defined and achievable goals to make 2018 a great year.

 Enter Now

Best Use of Time

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

How do we make the best use of time? That’s a HUGE question, and one we will not cover all today. Yet there are a few points to help us as we try to make the best use of our time today.

Wisdom

Most importantly, we need to apply wisdom. We must be wise to make the best decisions about how we spend our time. How do we do that?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

God wants us to be wise! He will give us the wisdom we need, as we honor and look to him. Scripture, the word of God, is full of His wisdom, ours for the asking. He will give us what we need each time we ask.

Time to Consider

Looking carefully does take time. We can’t assume it will magically happen as we stay busy with other things. We do need to take the time to think about our lives, what we are doing and why we are doing it. Time soaking in Scripture, time meditating on God’s word, time taking a deep breath before acting — these all help with making the best use of our time.

Remember Priorities

If we know what we should be doing and how we should be doing it in theory, but then we don’t DO it — we’ve missed the boat. Take your priorities — what you know is true and right — and apply that to your day.