By: Matteo Mortelliti, Pastoral Leader at the180
We are entering that time of the year where school starts, work hours ramp up, and new goals are set.
We often start the busy fall season with a positive sense of motivation, whether we’re students, employees, or new (or old) parents. But motivation doesn’t always last very long and we can soon feel overwhelmed by tasks, events, and commitments.
Have you ever felt like you just didn’t know where to start? Do you ever get the feeling that if one more thing gets added to your busy life, you will explode? Do you ever feel like you’re just drifting through life, never achieving your goals?
The Proverbs and Psalms are filled with quips about the wisdom of planning well. Here are a few useful tips that can help you make the most of a busy season.
1. Get honest about your priorities.
"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception." Proverbs 14:8
You might have an idea of what you prioritize in your life, but in order to make the most of your time, you have to get honest about what you actually prioritize: do not be deceived. Take a good look at where your spending your time, your money, and your thoughts. List out your priorities as they actually are on a physical piece of paper. Now that you’ve gotten honest, write a new list of what you want your priorities to be.
2. Learn to be a planner.
"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." Proverbs 21:5
Now that you know what you should prioritize, learn the important skill of creating a plan. My wife and I have tried different strategies to help us plan well together. One thing that’s helped us is to set aside time to plan our week. We ask ourselves what our goals are individually and as a couple? Which errands need to get done and which tasks need to be finalized? And we write it out—assigning projects and goals and events to certain days of the week. Get your plan on a physical (or digital) calendar of some sort. Our generation is fortunate enough to have loads of free apps to help you plan and calendarize. If you’re reading this, you likely have a smart phone capable helping you remember your commitments and goals—don’t try to remember everything on your own.
3. Don’t be an excessive planner.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Sometimes things you don't anticipate will come up and disrupt your plans. That’s okay. Remember this: the plan is made for man, not man for the plan. When you plan your week, or month, remember that the plan is there to help, not make things worse or more burdensome. When I set goals for the week, not all of them will be fulfilled, and I've learned that that’s okay—life isn’t totally predictable. So learn to be flexible.
4. Be a smart manager.
"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
A while ago I learned “the four D’s” of time management. This is no secret, and a quick Google search will give you much more info on the skill. The four D’s are Delete, Delegate, Do, or Defer. These are basic and self-explanatory skills, but a secret weapon for effective time management, especially when you're bombarded with emails, tasks, meetings, a family and not enough hours in the day.
5. Take a break.
"It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones." Psalm 127:2
At the heart of healthy planning, working, and time managing in our busy day-to-day lives is the conviction that we live and move and have our being in something bigger than ourselves. Apart from that conviction, we will end up burning out, or worse. Behind the Biblical principle of “Sabbath” is the reminder that the world doesn't revolve around our work, and our work doesn’t revolve around us. The Sabbath is a 24-hour period of being completely unproductive. It teaches us to acknowledge Jesus as the source, meaning, and goal of everything we are and do.
Hope you can join us for our final Leadership Sunday this coming week at 9:30am for "The Glue of Leadership."