Tag Archives: time management

He lovingly leads us

He lovingly leads us

As a self-employed person, I’m in the business of giving advice and supporting other self-employed people running their own businesses. Although, being self-employed has it’s benefits it is often tough, bringing new pressures to bear. Not only do you have to balance responsibilities at home and work, but you also have to be a master of many skills, not just in what you’re selling to your customers. For instance, you also need to be a salesperson, marketer, strategist, product manager, accountant, administrator, secretary, receptionist, host and so on. Knowing how to prioritise everything can be very challenging.

The other difficulty for someone in charge of their own time, is the temptation to be drawn into new opportunities. For instance, when someone comes to you for help and they are willing to pay you, it can be hard to say no. But if that activity isn’t part of your strategy then it can prevent you actually achieving your goals.

And this is where I begin to thing about God’s purposes for my life, whether that conflicts with my own plans. As someone who spends a lot of time developing strategies, it can be a challenge to know when it’s right to divert from a plan. On the one hand, diverting can both delay and dilute the original goal but on the other, we cannot simply ignore everything around us in order to fulfil our own goals; life’s not that simple.

We need to allow time to reflect on where we’re going and we need to be willing to occasionally put down our plans in order to help someone else. Whilst goals are a valuable tool for many aspects of our life, we shouldn’t become a slave to them and exclude all others. After all, the journey really is more important that just getting to the destination.

If you’re task or goal oriented, here’s some tips on how to prevent losing sight of the here and now:

Schedule time to listen and reflect

I schedule time first thing in the morning to focus on the various roles I fulfil. On Monday’s I think about the people I come into contact through my work. On Wednesday’s I think about my friends and family, on Thursday’s I think about people linked to the charity I work for. This practise ensures that I am being regularly mindful of people despite my busy schedule.

Schedule time for people

Make space in your diary for people that doesn’t involve work. All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, but tells people you’re more interested in projects than people. No matter what our work is, the work is always people and not projects. Put time in to have lunch with others, to go places together and intentionally try to find out about people. Show an interest in others, and this includes your partner and your family; don’t neglect them because of your busy schedule.

Make time to discuss plans and ideas

Having a mentor is one of the most beneficial things you can do in business. It’s invaluable to be able to share your ideas with someone who can help you put them into some sort of order, who’s able to ask you questions you haven’t thought about. Getting someone else’s perspective prevents me from taking on too much and keeps me focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I actually have several mentors that I meet with monthly. Each one supports me with different roles, such as my charity work or my business.

Make time to think about the bigger questions

No matter what your personal beliefs, one things for certain and that each of us have specific gifts and abilities; we each enjoy different things. It’s important to make the most of our opportunities in life, that means spending time to discover our natural gifts and abilities, looking for opportunities to use them and investing time in developing them. This might not be as hard as it seems. I spend time praying and meditating, I also read specific books and articles and I seek out people with similar talents to myself. What I find is that I learn more about who I am each year that passes. This spurns me on to be the best version of myself that I can be, and to seek to put my talents to best use helping others.

Cultivate a good attitude

Whilst fighting hard and being tenacious are good qualities, it’s important to recognise when it’s time to stop. This means having the humility to admit defeat at times and defer to another course of action. This might mean letting someone else take over or shutting something down all together. It’s may also mean needing to forgive others and choose to have a positive outlook for the future. Carrying unnecessary baggage around is going to seriously slow you down!

As a follower of Christ I am continually reminded that he is my guide. He doesn’t just give me wise counsel and advice but he leads me. He comes into my situation and leads me out and up. When I lose my footing or stray from the path, he returns for me, takes me by the hand and leads me back. Mistakes are forgiven, hope restored and we begin again.

Bible Passages

Jeremiah 29:4-11 v11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Busyness

Eyes on you

I don’t know about you but when it comes to looking after number one, I’m pretty good at it, ashamedly so. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess to how much of my day I spend looking after my own priorities – by that I mean thinking about my own needs instead of those around me.

Some would argue that this is no such thing as a selfless act, that even when doing things for others the giver is still benefiting for the warm glow of satisfaction. I think that this is going too far. There are certainly many acts of sacrifice that people make everyday that they neither enjoy or get satisfaction from. Anyone who is a parent knows this. Disciplining our children is always difficult for a parent but it’s a very necessary and vital part of the child’s development.

Looking after number one can take a lot of time. There is a lot to sort out! By the time I’ve written my many lists of all the things  I have to do there is little time left for anyone else. Of course, many of the things on my list are necessary and are often for the direct benefit of others, so what’s the problem?

Well, it’s not the list of tasks or the actual acts that are the problem. It’s the focus. Even in the planning list of priorities, whether for myself or others, there is the potential to focus on the wrong things. I therefore start rushing about doing things that are sometimes unnecessary and occasionally completely unhelpful. This isn’t just about whether I’m being selfish, thinking of only of myself. No. It’s about first and foremost having my focus on the only one that can help give me a clear perspective on life.

By focusing my attention on God I stop looking at my own needs, stop looking at the list of everything that needs doing, even stop looking at the needs of everyone else. And as I gaze at my father I find total acceptance, complete forgiveness, wholeness and peace. He then helps me to order my thoughts, shows me things I hadn’t noticed and then I can begin to get my priorities straight.

My outlook for the coming day has fundamentally changed. Now, as I go about my tasks, I am mindful of the people I meet. I am sensitive to what is going on in their lives. I am relaxed when trouble comes my way. And at the end of the day, I find that everything that needed to be done has been achieved. Why not start today by getting your focus onto the one who can help determine the right steps for the coming day?

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Running Late

How many times have I raced to for an appointment only to find out that there was no need to hurry at all. There must have been at least half-a-dozen times in the last few months where I’ve rushed to be somewhere on time, only to find out that I was by no means the last to arrive or the start had been delayed. In the process I was flustered and had not really prepared. On one occasion it also resulted in me being invited to a Speed Awareness Course!

But it’s difficult to not let time dictate our actions. We tell ourselves that we should be better organised, or that people will think us unreliable, or that we don’t value them because we couldn’t be there on time. Some of this may be true and we might need to check how much we’re trying to do, but there will always be circumstances beyond our control. We need to learn how to deal with these situations when they arise and not to spend all of our time trying to plan for every eventuality. For the performance driven ones among us this can be the difference between burning out or living successfully.

Here are few handy thoughts when running late.

  • Perhaps I won’t be the last to arrive
  • People will be even more glad when I arrive because they had begun to think I wouldn’t make it all all
  • They will understand that I was delayed
  • My apology will be accepted and everyone will quickly forget that I was late
  • The meeting will not start on time
  • Not everything is my responsibility
  • They have allowed time for me as they know I have a lot on
  • Teas & coffees will be served first
  • I may have the wrong start time
  • It’s more important I am relaxed when I arrive so I can give my best
  • It’s better to arrive late in one piece than not to arrive at all
  • I may not even be required for the meeting as others have it covered
  • People will not think less of me for not arriving on time

It’s good that you care about being on time and not letting others down but it is important that it doesn’t turn into anxiety and stress.
If you can let people know that you’re running late. If you’re really late then perhaps you should just send your apologies and miss the meeting altogether. Better that you allow sometime to prepare and get to the next one onetime and get control of your day back.

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you that even when I don’t find time for you, you alway make time for me. Help me to trust you for all the things that I cannot control, and to know when enough is enough and I cannot do anymore. Just because I think I’m able to do it doesn’t mean that I have to, I can trust things to others and ultimately trust everything to you.

Help me to give my best. Even when I get things wrong and let others down you do not condemn me but love me always.

Thank you God for your patience with me. May I show others that same patience when they don’t arrive on time for my next meeting.

Amen

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin
construction of a building without first calculating the cost to
see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might
complete only the foundation before running out of money, and
then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person
who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
Luke 14:28-30
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own 
understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make 
straight your paths. 
Proverbs 3:5-6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and 
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone 
who is hasty comes only to poverty. 
Proverbs 21:5