What if I told you there is no such thing as time management? I don’t think there is. There is only self-management within the framework of time. I once heard John Maxwell say, “We have just enough time to do the will of God.” If that’s the case, I guess I’d better use the time He gives me wisely.
Three terms that are important for us to define if we want to understand the best ways to manage ourselves and the time we’re given are urgent, important, and significant.
Urgent means, “How soon does it matter?”
Important means, “How much does it matter?”
Significant means, “How long will it matter?”
Given those three definitions, it’s easy to see that working toward what’s significant is where we want to be. But most of us are stuck in a frenzied cycle of chasing urgent task after urgent task.
What if we broke free from the crushing weight of the urgent? When we put significance first, we end up choosing the important over the urgent as a result. But, what if we could even move from doing what has to be done to doing what should be done? If you’d like to live a life of significance, ask yourself, “What can I do today that has lasting value?”
Here are three things you can do today to build your life around the significant.
- Identify and Prioritize your Key Roles
We all have different roles in life. Think of a few. Most of us have anywhere from five to seven roles we perform on a weekly basis. What are the roles you need to focus on? What are the key relationships in each of those roles? Spend your time adding value to the roles you treasure most.
- Write a Tribute Statement
When my oldest daughter was four, I’d drifted away from giving myself to a role that was far more important than my role as a pastor: my role as a father.
So I asked myself, “What do I want my daughter to say about me at my funeral? It was really simple. I wanted her to be able to say, “My Daddy loved me unconditionally. He taught me to love God and other people by living it in his daily walk. He was my hero.”
Think again about the roles in your life. What do you want people to say about you?
- Plan Weekly
Being balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval. With the smallest investments in the right places, you can dramatically improve the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life. A weekly meal shared together. A weekly text. A shared prayer time. It’s worth it to put these things on your calendar. If you don’t, you can rest assured life’s urgencies will continue to crowd out the significant.
On Father’s Day 2010, I received this email from my oldest daughter who was 24 at the time.
“… You have been a steadfast, strong, and stable influence in my life … someone I could always lean on. You have shown me what it means to truly be humble and let God take over your life … You are a hero.”
What are your key roles? What do you want people to say? What is it that you need to change today? Don’t let shame, guilt, or cynicism keep you from getting up and doing something significant.
If you think this concept is helpful, I’d highly recommend you watch the I Choose series by Pastor Craig, and start the Bible Plan too.