You’ve decided to start taking small steps of action, steps that your able to take rather than being stuck in the headlights. You’ve realized that a train is headed your way and that standing in one place is no good. You’ve learned that starting to move is better than being hit by a train and you’ve received a bit of help to nudge you in the right direction. Some of the action steps you may have taken are things like cutting up your credit cards, creating and following a simple cash budget, or starting to pay attention to where your time is going. Once we do that, we typically seek for ways to increase our income by means of a second job, working overtime, or maybe get a third job. However, before we go into increasing our income, let’s consider the topic of time.
Most people, myself included, fall into the trap of thinking that the best thing I can do with my time is to make more money. And if I’m not working to make money, than I’m wasting time: I’m not being a faithful steward. But faithfulness has to do with more than merely creating a second or third revenue stream. Faithfulness has to do with humbly being consistent and committed to taking what you’ve been given and seeing it to completion. Faithfulness has to do with being committed to the truth in the face of darkness even if it means standing alone. Faithfulness has to do with persevering till the end. Faithfulness has to do with keeping promises we have given to people, especially our loved ones, who are often times the ones who get the last and worst of us, rather than the first and best of us. Faithfulness has to do with loving and obeying all of God’s commandments. And so we must ask, am I being faithful with my time by seeking to increase my income? At what expense?
There is no free lunch.Somebody
Know Thy Time
I’ve made the mistake of both being the deer in the headlights as well as jumping into something too soon. It becomes a vicious circle of haste and neglect. First you jump at every opportunity, get burned, then stand there without moving. But like Peter Drucker likes to say, “Know Thy Time.” In his book “The Effective Executive” he argues that before being able to manage your time, you have to know where your time is going. It’s like time budgeting. And if you think that an Executive is someone who is only a business mogul, think again.
The word “executive” comes from the latin word exsequi meaning “to carry out”. It means to execute. To make it happen. An executive is a person who has power to put plans, actions, or laws into effect. In our modern times, it refers to a business manager or a high branch of government. However, we can expand to say that an executive is a person who joyfully and responsibly administers what he’s received and has the power to carry out plans, make decisions, and make things run smoothly.
When we see it this way, an executive becomes a far broader word than what we’re used to. We don’t use the term “Executive of the Household” kind of language, however, we are called to faithfully, joyfully, and responsibly administer the gifts and blessings that we’ve received, take dominion, subdue the earth, make plans, entrust them to the Lord, and make decisions that help make things run smoothly: this truly is a high mountain to climb.
Returning back to Peter Drucker’s recommendation, he recommends that we first know what we are doing with our time and then arrange your day based on what actually happens. This becomes time management. The idea behind knowing your time is to be able to group larger chunks of uninterrupted time in order to be able to get bigger projects done. This is to be applied through all of life.
Like most important things of life, this also is simple: 1) Get a small notebook you can keep on you 2) Record what you are doing in real time every time you change doing something 3) Set a 30 minute reminder to record what you are doing to help you not forget 4) Do this for 2-4 weeks 5) Make decisions of elimination, grouping, and replacing. Where is your waste? What is your mission?
If you’re in the position of a manager, whether you have people to manage, or you are managing yourself, then this is even more vital for your role. Drucker noted that managers don’t get paid to do things they like, but rather to do the right things. As a steward given the task of overseeing the resources our Creator has entrusted to us, we are called to rightly manage, utilize, and be faithful in such a way as to deliver crop that can be harvested, which in turn will bless many people.
What we like to do, isn’t always the right thing to do. The right thing to do, isn’t always what we like to do. Ideally, we would learn to like doing the right thing. The sign of us doing the right thing isn’t being joyless, but rather it is to take joy and pleasure in doing the right thing according to the right standard. This also doesn’t mean that we should wait to do the right thing until we start enjoying it.
Doing the right thing, is the right thing to do. This is hard. This requires courage. This requires discipline.
Do the right thing first and seek joy in it.
“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”― A French guy named Jean de La Bruyère