This is a continuation of Part 1 which can be viewed here
Make a Visible Calendar
I grew up the child of a Mary Kay sales director and one of the things I’ll never forget as a child was the weekly calendar posted on our refrigerator every Sunday night. It was highlighted in different colors to represent me, my brother, my Dad, and my Mom’s Mary Kay commitments. Viewing that calendar allowed every one in our family to see who was supposed to be where and when as well as the open holes we could insert other things into, usually the fun things. Having a visual picture before us brought us all into harmony and unity with one another and helped us manage our expectations for one another.
This is a practice that I have begun with our family. As a family of six with kids in sports, me and Jason in full time ministry, and my work with Family Greenhouse, it has become imperative that we create this visual, especially for our children. Children want to know what the day ahead holds for them and what activities or demands will be made of them. Our children are very extroverted and tend to be very flexible when it comes to the demands of our schedule but nonetheless, they do very much enjoy being able to wake up every morning and know what the day’s schedule will look like. Jason and I have also learned to take advantage of the “holes” in the calendar when we can sneak away for a lunch date, arrange a time to catch up on the week’s events, or plan a special outing with our kiddos.
Learn to Say No
My final tip may have many of you tuning me out but I challenge you to stay with me for a moment. It is my firm belief that we have time management issues primarily because we say “yes” to far to many things. I learned this difficult lesson not too long ago that saying “yes” to one thing means that I have to say “no” to something else. While this blog is being written primarily to those of you in ministry who feel like everything you do is purposeful and God-approved, I challenge you to look carefully at the things that you are saying, “yes” to. I believe that we can maximize our calendars and our time commitments with just a little extra effort. We truly can arrange our lives in such a way that leaves us feeling less frantic, less exhausted, and allows us to truly honor God with our time and talents.
I recently was asked by some friends to lead them in a Bible study and my natural response would normally be to quickly say yes and begin making arrangements. However, I knew saying yes to this opportunity meant one more night that I was out of the house, away from my kids and husband. I would also have to dedicate time to preparing and praying over the material. I made the tough decision and told the ladies that I was stretched too thin and needed to say no. When we honor the Lord with our time, He honors the desires of our heart and my desire was to see these women grow in deeper relationship with the Lord. Never a moment too late, the Lord provided for these women, a leader who was extremely capable but who had doubted her ability to lead. She was a natural fit and the women loved her and have gleaned much from her. My “no” became a “yes” for someone else to step into her lane and run with purpose.
We all have the same 24 hours but we may not all necessarily have the same amount of days or years to live out those 24 hours. What if this was your last 24 hours? How would you fill those hours? What if you knew you only had five more years to walk this earth, how would you manage your time? Would you regret that you said yes to things that meant you said no to the things that were most important to you? Would you be able to look back and analyze certain things that could have been maximized or eliminated altogether? Would you feel as if you were a wise steward of the time the Lord had given you?
Communication, organization and maximization are key ingredients to managing our time wisely. Psalm 39:4-5 challenges us in this way, “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”