Sometimes I have so many things to do I get really stressed. I made a list a year or so ago of “Things Other People Want Me to Do,” “Things I’m Obligated to do Because of My Work or Role in the Organization,” and “Things I Want to Do.” I have been ruthlessly making every effort to get myself into a position where I am doing the things I want to do.
I’ve lived for many, many years with a sense of the value and brevity of time. Our days are limited. We all are called to do a great work for God during our lifetime.
Lord, what is man that You take notice of him? Or the son of man that You think of him?
Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a shadow that passes away.
On the last day, which may be the day we die or the day Jesus returns to earth, we will be asked about what we have done with our time, opportunities and talents and skills in this life. Our rewards in the Afterlife will be determined by this (not our salvation, but the rewards for those who have already received God’s salvation through true faith in Jesus Christ).
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
So how do we determine what to do and what not to do from day to day? Everything begins with the end in mind! Many, many years ago (everything seems like “many, many years ago” nowadays!) I took a Time Management Course that was really helpful. The course started by making me think about the end of my life in certain areas and what I wanted it to look like:
I’ve faltered on some of these over the years, nevertheless they have been a compass for me. This is the key to Time Management and Living by Priorities: Know what the end result is supposed to look like.
When I came to Cambodia I knew the kind of church I felt God wanted in this nation. I made a list of those qualities and characteristics and this determined my preaching, my personal appointments, and all my activities on a daily basis.
So for you, I highly recommend getting alone with God and the Bible and thinking through what you want the end of your life to look like. Write it specifically and put it in a place which can remind you daily. In certain Seasons of Life we cannot control our schedule because we are under someone else’s authority. We must work for them. However, I urge you to keep your focus on the end goal and yearly, monthly and daily do what you can to move yourself toward your end goal.
One tool that helps me is the A, B and C Priority Checklist. When I feel overwhelmed and too much on my plate I categorize my Task List into:
A = Essential to my Future Goals or my Job Description at my workplace
B = Important and still associated with my Future Goals or Job Description bu not as important as A.
C = I’d like to do them but if I don’t it won’t be the end of the world.
In my Task List I’ve always tried to schedule something associated with my personal, long-term goals I feel God is directing me towards.
By the way, it’s my opinion that every person should have a daily or weekly Task List. If you don’t you will wander aimlessly and either won’t come near your long-term destination in life or you will waste a lot of God’s Time and your energy. You can use a piece of paper, a 3 x 5 card or an app in your smart phone nowadays.
I’ll conclude by a few quotes:
- If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
- Nobody is just too busy, we all have the same amount of hours and minutes in the year, month and day…it’s a matter of priorities.
- Change your priorities and change your life.
- In order to say “Yes” to your priorities you must be willing to say “No” to something else.
- You’re priorities aren’t what you say they are, they are revealed by your daily activities.
- The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
I wish you the best in this life!