Time management principles - It starts with purpose

“Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life, but to master your time is to master your life and make the most of it.” - Alan Lakein

Time is precious. Time is life. Who you will be and what you will have in the future will be reflected by what you’ve been willing to trade your time for. In one sense you could say that time is our intangible currency and everyday we are each given the same amount of wages. We have 24 hours to spend in exchange for the future we desire. We can actually buy the future with our time. In reality the effective use of our time is not just about being able to do more and get to appointments on schedule, it’s about life management. Whatever we do in life requires time. It seems like a pretty simple equation, yet we’d probably all agree that we can always find room for improvement in the way we effectively handle our time.

So let’s begin by building some foundational principles that underpin effective time management. The first, and in a sense one of the most important points is purpose. I’m talking about life purpose. Every single individual on earth was created with a purpose. Whether you know it or not you have a purpose. It will be hard to manage your time and your life if you don’t have a focus that you really care about. If we start to look at ways to help you become more efficient and disciplined but none of those things ever takes you closer to the vision in your heart then time won’t be invested as wisely as it could be. If we look at our time from the point of view of only making the best use of an hour than it would be easy to only mange ourselves by focusing on how efficient we can get for the moment. But if we look at our time in the light of our entire lives then we begin to move from just managing ourselves to correctly leading ourselves. In the words of Peter Drucker, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Let’s take an example to illustrate why purpose is so important in the use of our time. Let’s say that since a child you’ve always wanted to play the piano and become this great concert pianist. You even started taking some lessons and loved it, but somewhere along the line your well meaning parents pushed you into becoming an accountant because that’s what they wanted for you. So you followed that path and you’re even quite good at what you do but yet you’re still unfulfilled. This yearning to be a concert pianist just won’t leave you alone. Well that vision in your heart just may be a key to your purpose – to make music for the world. If you are not thinking long term than chances are that you’ll remain as an accountant. But maybe you decide I’ve got to give this thing a go. Then the way you view time totally changes. If you have a definite conviction that the piano thing is for you maybe you step out and totally pour your life into it. However, maybe you want to take it a bit slower and test this thing out while keeping the job you’ve got. Then in that case you make the most of the available time you have and organise your life with your vision before you.

But what if you don’t know your purpose? Then what? Well then you create the future you want. Just start by doing something. Even if you don’t know your life purpose then that doesn’t mean you can’t be purposeful. “In all labour there is profit…” Proverbs 14:23. God never told us to do nothing. If you’re pursuing your plans and they’re really out of God’s will He will let you know if you stay connected to Him (Proverbs 3:6). A few keys that can help us to begin to think purposefully:

Use your imagination and dream
God gave us a brain to be used. It has been said that as human we use less than 5% of our brains abilities! We are suppose to dream, imagine, think big and consider the possibilities. Every action is always preceded by a thought. Take some time out and daydream – it’s ok, it’s healthy! Think about the people you want to help in the future. Think about the family you want. Imagine what your lifestyle will be like. Where will your home be like? What will your work be? Our goals should be aimed towards our dreams.

What are your gifts?
What are you good at and what do you love to do? And please don’t say ‘to sleep all day’! Are you good with people? Are you good with numbers? Are you a good organiser? Perhaps your gift is with words – a journalist, writer, speaker perhaps?

What do you value?
What means a lot to you? What is the burden on your heart that maybe other people may not share? What really matters to you? Is it the health of others, building good relationships or family? Maybe you hate poverty? Maybe you despise ignorance?

This sets a foundation for purposeful time management. I hope you can begin to see the importance of purpose in time management. Purpose gives us energy and leads us in the right direction.

God bless and protect


Quote of the week:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” – Psalm 90:12


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