Category Archives: Time

Redeeming Time

We all wish we could add time to our day. The reality is…we can’t. It’s just not possible.

But, what we can do is make intentional efforts to make the most of the time we have. This is part 4 in thinking through time management. You can find the first three parts here, here, and here.

Today’s post is an easy read. Here’s a simple list of things you could do to free up time to show people God’s love.

  1. One Minute Email Rule: My email is a complete fail. I have thousands of emails just taking up space in my inbox. I can’t remember where I read this rule, but I love it and I’m going to give it a shot. Open your email and do one of three things. First, if it’s trash, delete it. Second, if you can respond in under a minute, do it and put it in a “processed” folder. Don’t put it off. Third, if it requires more attention, then put it on your list of things to do. The reality is most email requires a minute or under to respond. Simply clearing out those emails will make you vastly more efficient and disciplining yourself to respond immediately means less people go unanswered.
  2. Schedule Time to Serve: Most of us have good intentions. We want to serve, but our week is packed. BUT, most of us have no idea what we’ll be doing June 5 (pick any random day in the future). Sign up for Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or whatever. Just put it on the calendar. Make it part of your schedule and that will give you time to find a babysitter or get other work accomplished. Make serving a priority by intentionally scheduling.
  3. Make the Most of Meals: A common refrain I hear from pastors and leaders is that they have no time. But we eat don’t we? You’ve got three meals a day. Make the most of that meal by not going it alone. Invite someone to lunch. Meet someone for breakfast. Welcome another family into your home for dinner. Some of the best conversations people have are around meals. It’s a chance to listen to people, learn who they are, and you may learn of a need you could meet.
  4. Serve as a Family: Many times, especially at churches, we separate our families. One night, dad will go somewhere. The other night, mom…and so on. Seek out, discover, and invent ways to serve and volunteer together. I recently heard a friend of mine whose family sponsored a cookout to raise money for people in Haiti. That’s a great way to not only serve, but also to invest in your family. Time well spent.

Those are just four simple ways to start getting the most out of your time. There are a million more out there on the internet, but those hit home with me.

Got any time management tips that you think are essential? Don’t be bashful, share them!

Have a great day and don’t forget to ask yourself the question:

How can I Become Last today?

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Filed under Time, Uncategorized

Time Reveals Our Priorities

This week, time management has been the theme. We all have many ideas about what we want our lives to be like, but sometimes we get swamped. Yesterday, we took a time inventory. Today, we ask ourselves an important question:

Does the way we use our time match what we claim to value?

We’re all familiar with the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Our priorities and values can normally be understood by looking at how we spend our money. I believe the same holds true for how we spend our time.

Think of it this way. I tell my wife I love her. I could text it to her, say it to her, email it to her, and shout it from the rooftops. But what if I went out and spent all my time with other girls? What if I never opened the car door for her, helped clean up the house, or bragged on her to friends? We all show love in different ways, but wouldn’t she begin to question my love if I never showed it. Love is more than words. It means sacrificing your time, priorities and rights on behalf of another.

Take a minute. Brainstorm. What do you value? What are you passionate about? Write it down.

Yesterday, you wrote down how you spent your time. Do the two lists match? If not, why not?

If we say that family is really important to us, but we find we never spend time with our kids, is it true?
If we say God is important and never spend time with Him, is that true?
If we claim to love the poor and needy, but do nothing for them, is it true?

I know work takes up a huge part of our week, but how we spend the rest of our time does say something about us.

What does your time say about you?

Tomorrow, we look at being intentional with our time. Hope to see you back.

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Filed under Challenges, Time

Take a Time Inventory

This week, we’re taking a look at time management. If we’re going to effectively love and serve others, time is a resource we need to make the most of!

In this first post, I want to encourage you to fight the idea of time apathy. DO NOT settle for doing just o.k. or even good. I’m fond of the saying, “Good is often the enemy of the best.” You’re on this planet for a reason (several, really). But so often, we become content just doing things the way they’ve always been done. We get used to living our life a certain way and it becomes comfortable.

I heard a great illustration yesterday. Apparently, there is a sign on an Alaskan highway that reads, “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next two hundred miles.” Yikes! That’s also a pretty accurate description of the way we use our time. Being creatures of habit, it’s important for us to constantly reflect on our time usage and see where it could change.

Maybe Your Day Looks Like This

In order to do that, we need to take a time inventory.

They say the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. This is why it’s so important to count up our time. Seriously, this may seem basic or tedious, but until you figure out where your time is going you’re never going to be able to maximize its effectiveness.

To do this, take a 7 day week and count how you spend your hours. Don’t make a schedule, just divvy out the hours. Here’s an example:

There are 168 hours in a week so we start with that. Now, how do we use them? Your numbers may vary from mine, but you’ll get the point.

8 hours of sleep per night = 56 hours
8 hours a day at work for 5 days = 40 hours (most people work more)
Time spent preparing, eating, and cleaning meals = 11 hours
Time spent driving (commuting, going to friends, church, etc…) = 12 hours
Time spent watching tv or movies (if you don’t watch tv, insert whatever hobby you have) = 20 hours
Church/Religious activity/Volunteering = 7 hours
Recreation with family/friends = 8 hours
Time on Internet (News, Email, Facebook, etc) = 14

Clearly, those are just rough estimates. They vary from person to person. But think about how you spend an average week. Count up those hours and see what you do. Make sure it adds up to 168. Try to be as accurate as possible even if takes you a few minutes to think through each thing you do. You may be amazed at how much time you spend in certain areas!

A few months ago, I realized I spent 15 minutes of my morning on the internet (games, Facebook, sports, news) before work. I did this 3 times a week. That’s 45 minutes. I challenged myself to use that time in some other way. I could pray, write someone an encouraging note, read the Bible, clean up for my wife. The options are limitless. Sad to say, it’s much easier to get on the internet and so most of the time I do! I’m still working to change that, but I never would have realized it had I not done some self-examining.

That’s the point. We must know where our time is going. Challenge yourself to count your time up honestly. Maybe I’m alone. Maybe I’m the only one who feels he wastes our most valuable resource. But, I expect some of you will do a double take as you count up your hours. Regardless, you’ll find this exercise to be useful guide as we discover more practical advice each day.

Besides sleep and work, where did you find most of your time went?

Did you discover anything shocking?

Am I a nutball for counting up my time? (don’t answer that!)

Do you think you could use your time more effectively?

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Filed under Challenges, Time, Uncategorized

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Apologies to Dave Ramsey if I grossly misquote him, but he is known for saying something like, “You need to own your money, before it owns you.” Part of this idea is naming where each bill goes. If you don’t tell it where it’s going, it disappears before you realize it.

I’m finding the same can be said for your time. I’ve never been an extremely scheduled person. It doesn’t come easy and so I normally fly by the seat of my pants. However, I think it’s time for a change. I don’t own my time anymore. It owns me. I often look back on weeks and wonder where in the world they went and what opportunities I missed!  I’m by no means the busiest person I know, but if you add up 2 jobs, grad school, family, and other responsibilities and hobbies you can see why I feel a bit pressed!

Wish you could stop time?

But here’s the thing. No one can serve and love others effectively if they are maxed out. Sacrifice is one thing. It implies an intentional giving up of something. We should sacrifice our time. But foolishly using our time and being burnt out is another thing altogether. I firmly believe I could use my time better and that would benefit my family, my work, my education, people I want to serve, and myself.

We all could use some lessons in time management. If we are to be effective stewards of the time God has given us on this Earth, we shouldn’t want to waste a single moment!

So, drum roll please….

This week is time management week at Becoming Last. We’re going to discover together principles we could all apply to make better use of our time.

Three promises:

  1. You will be challenged. I’m convinced we have a wealth of time and yet we squander it.
  2. You will be better off. Making better use of our time leads to less stress and more freedom.
  3. You will discover something new. Guaranteed. You will learn something new or have one of those “light bulb over the head” moments.

Look forward to seeing you around. I’m determined to make the most of these precious moments we have on this great Earth. Will you join me?

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Filed under Challenges, General Update, Time

Steps Toward Change

Not many people would say, “I don’t care if people don’t have food or water.” I hope I’m not too far off in believing most of us genuinely want to help people out. The problem is our lives aren’t oriented in such a fashion where that is possible.

Many of us spend so much time working because we’ve made financial decisions which dictate us working X amount of hours to pay for everything. Right or wrong, we’re hindered by those decisions. Our entertainment also takes up our time. There’s hardly a passion you could name which could not be satisfied within hours in America. Because of this, we spend a lot of our time feeding those passions. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but time consuming.

My point is this: If you want to begin helping others, begin making one intentional decision in that direction each day.

Change rarely occurs overnight. We have developed our patterns of behavior over the course of our entire lives! Rarely does that change automatically. It’s a process. It’s a set of determined, thought out decisions that eventually became the rhythm of your life.

So where can you begin today? What can you do tomorrow? If you’re at a loss, take some time and explore other posts as you may find some encouragement or inspiration.

What does the symphony of your life sound like? The best orchestra did not get that way overnight. It took years and years of practice. How can you begin to intentionally move yourself in the direction of Becoming Last?

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Filed under christian, making a difference, selflessness, Time

Character in Power

President Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

So what is your character like?

You may not think you have power. You may not be in a powerful position. You think you don’t have much influence. You may not feel powerful.

But we are powerful in a different sense and I think our character is tested by how we use our power. Consider this:

  • I have the power to choose to eat out as often as I do. I could use the money on better things or other people, but I have to be honest about the fact I love eating out. It’s part of my character.
  • You have the power to work less. I know many Americans work 50-60 hours a week. Each situation is different, but do the things we desire hold us enslaved to our jobs?
  • I have 24 hours of power. Each day, I have the choice of doing a lot of things. It’s quite simple. I value the things I spend a lot of time doing. What does your time say about your character?
  • I have the power to sacrifice. Sometimes I need a reality check to realize how blessed I am. What does your sacrifice demonstrate about your character?

Lincoln was right. Power does test our character. We have SO much power. How are we using that power? How should we use it?

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Filed under Chances to Serve, General Update, quotes, Realizations, Time

Doing Nothing is Easier – Day 12

Sometimes it’s easier just to do nothing.

I’ve had numerous times over the last few days, and this morning in particular, where I’ve really struggled with doing nothing. By nothing, I mean either wasting time or not wanting to respond to people’s needs. Maybe you’ve been there with me before?

Take this morning for example. There’s one guy I meet from time to time who’s very hard to love. I would tell you why, but I feel like I’d be bashing him and I want to avoid that. Anyway, we talked this morning and I just had a really hard time engaging him like I should. It’s just easier to end the conversation, to give short answers, and do nothing than to really give the guy time. But I’m not called to love just the really awesome people of the world. I’m called to love everyone. So, he’s going on my prayer list but not in the way you might think. Yes, I’ll pray for him, but I’m mainly pray for my attitude towards him and that I would be open to serving him in some way.

The second part of doing nothing I’ve struggled with this morning is wasting time. I was a little tongue tied earlier and couldn’t quite figure out how to write the post I wanted to write (still haven’t!). There’s also a couple of other small tasks I’m avoiding, but it’s much easier to kill time on mindless things and I’m a pro at turning minutes into hours on the Internet.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not wallowing in guilt. I don’t think I should be. I think there’s a healthy way of recognizing when we aren’t using the time God gives us to the fullest. So I think it’s good to evaluate from time to time and ask God, “Does my life look remotely like what you want it to look like?” In the case of my morning, probably not completely, but I’m learning. And now I’m off to do some collecting!

Have you Become Last today?

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Filed under General Update, Prayer, Realizations, Time