And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:17-19)I know that I waste time. Often, when it’s too late to start something and too early to go to bed, I spend too much time in front of the television or playing Spider Solitaire on my computer. After reading these verses the second time in the past week or so, that game is removed, and I must do something about how to better spend my evenings.
It isn’t all bad. Often I am sewing or reading, but God is convicting me. Besides, it is that time of year when a new beginning is on the horizon, January 1, and like many people, I want to make the most of it.
Most time management experts say that if you take care of the time that you waste, you will have enough time to do the important things. Several lists have been made, most geared to the business world. However, I have gleaned from them my own list of ten ways that I fritter away my time.
1. Being distracted, lack of discipline to stay on one thing until it is completed. This could also be called lack of focus, no prioritizing, shifting objectives, bored by the task, etc. God says that I’m to be faithful, and that includes faithful to finish what I start.I look though this list of what could be called “aimless conduct” and recognize another factor. My spiritual gift is teaching which means I love to collect and dispense information. This whole post is an example. However, I can lose my objective, get carried away and waste a lot of time. For me, there is joy is in the learning and collecting, but when that becomes selfish, then I am wasting the time God gave me.
2. Poor planning that does not consider interruptions, how long the task will take, or mistakes made in the process that must be rectified. All this can lead to last-minute rushing and big headaches. I need to slow down and get the Lord’s input on my to-do list.
3. Over planning. The opposite of #2 is that I can spend hours trying to figure out what I should be doing, making lists, combining tasks, etc. and wind up not getting anything done. Jesus was never guilty of this. When God told Him to do something, He did it, now.
4. Saying YES when I should say NO! This one also involves deeper issues. When I do this, it could be that I’ve forgotten who calls the shots. Or I’m motivated by a desire to please or impress someone. I need to listen to the Lord.
5. Procrastination. The deeper issue here is that I’m not sure I know what I’m doing, or that the task is difficult. Sometimes I’m lazy and want to do only easy things, but most of the time I feel inadequate and must simply ask the Lord to help me. Duh.
6. Too much television. Instead of being an informed viewer who plans what I watch and who decides what is really important, I use TV when I’m too tired (or lazy) to do anything else that is more productive. I could pamper myself in better ways.
7. Too much computer. Each use of this PC should have a purpose. Sometimes I do excessive research and get carried away following links. The deeper issue is that I control this PC, but everything else has limits to what I can make happen. Mmmm!
8. Doing other people's jobs, answering email requests that should have been sent to someone else. This is much like #4, but I am improving on this one.
9. Being tired and doing easy, busywork that is not necessary or fruitful, like #6 & #7, but tidying and sorting, making lists, and a host of other mindless things can fall into this category.
10. Letting clutter build so I’m looking for or moving things instead of getting the vital stuff accomplished. The opposite of #9.
Time is precious and a gift from God. While I’m working at a long to-do list, I obviously need to talk to Him more about what He wants on it, and what He wants removed. I also need to call on Him more than I do for the resources necessary to do the tasks and to use my time wisely.
The Bible says God redeemed me from aimless conduct by the precious blood of Christ. Therefore one more remedy for these time-wasters could be considering if each task is worthy of the blood that was shed for my redemption?