Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Bible teaching about
time management

What the Bible says about time management is simple: it is to your great advantage. Paul insisted, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15, 16).

Esmie and I have found the process to be a large part of any successful plans. All of us have been given resources, and how we organize and spend them determines how well we achieve the plans, goals, and tasks God has given each of us to accomplish. 

Time management is really activity management, because activities are what you plug into the day’s time slots. And, those selected activities are the steps toward achieving the most of what God wants you to accomplish for Him.  

There are many issues involved in time management, but here we only have time to explain a few key principles. Read on. Success is just around the corner.

Make a List

Remember that time management flows out of goal setting  and plans. The sharper your goals are, the easier to organize your time. Make a list of everything you need to do to carry out your goals. Break big tasks down into small more manageable tasks. Estimate how long it will take you to do each item. 

Organize your tasks for the day, week, month, year, etc. For example, Esmie and I take two or three days at the first of every year, go off to a place away from distractions, pray, and make our major yearly goals. We get the “big picture” first, and then begin to break the big goals down into monthly and weekly tasks. 

This practice of writing down the tasks will remove the frustration of trying to remember everything that you need to do. If you don’t write down your tasks, you are bound to forget some things. Furthermore, you will worry and waste time trying to remember what you forgot, rather than investing that time in creative thinking and focused execution. 

Prioritize

After you make the list, then prioritize the tasks based on your most important goals. Do first things first. Shove less important tasks down the priority list. Do one item at a time. Your conscious mind can only process one thing at a time, and that means we can only focus on one thing at a time. 

If you have multiple projects in front of you that you are trying to do all at once, your attention becomes fractured, and you become panicky. Consequently, pick up one part of the project, focus and finish it, put it aside, and go on to the next. When you get those overwhelmed feelings, it just means you want everything done at once – which is an impossibility.

Interruptions sometimes crop up, and you cannot completely finish a project because of a deadline imposed by another project, or an emergency. But, the main point is to set aside a block of time, and focus on one task at a time. Additionally, sometimes plans must be changed. Make allowances for interruptions.

Beware of the urgent crowding out the important. Many times people will frantically come to you with a small problem, and take your time away from the important thing you need to do. Guard against it. Locate time wasters, and avoid them. 

Schedules and Deadlines

Some type of calendar or day-timer is imperative for time management. The appointments you make, the deadlines you face, the projects to start, the places you need to be – all of these activities need to be written in a calendar. 

The calendar, then, becomes your schedule. Schedules are merely plans that specify time periods within which activities are to be accomplished. 

The purpose of scheduling activities is to break down a project into discrete tasks, order those tasks in the logical sequence of steps needed to complete the project, and then plot the steps against time or target dates. 

Allow enough time for each step or task. Some tasks can be done in parallel, but sometimes one step needs to be finished before the next step can be started. 

The following chart illustrates how to accomplish an overall project that contains many sub parts, and is targeted to time. 

Overall Project

               Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   June   July   Aug   Sept   Oct

Task 1    Start---------------finish

Task 2               Start-----------------------finish

Task 3                    Start-----------------------------finish

Task 4    Start----------------------------------end of project

It is helpful to have a large calendar or white board in the office or planning area, and then write down all the necessary scheduled events so all can see. Mark down all the vacations, important events, deadlines, who is assigned what tasks, etc.

Delegating Responsibilities

What the Bible says about delegation can be seen in the case of Jethro advising Moses to divide up the work, select good people to lead and judge the Israelites, yet under Moses’ supervision (Exodus 18:1-27). 

Many things can be done by others, which frees up your time to focus on those things that only you, the leader, can do. Here are some guidelines.

  • Have your secretary, wife, etc. answer the phone, open the mail, and do the routine matters.
  • Give adequate and clear instructions, training, and expectations to the person, and then let them do the work. Don’t micromanage by looking over their shoulders and telling them how to do every detail. 
  • Make sure you give the authority to the person to carry out the assignment. Make clear who is to report to whom, when, and how. Don’t give a task to one person, and then give it to another person. The first person will feel humiliated. 
  • Determine when you will follow up and check how things are going. Decide what you are going to check. Put the inspection times in your calendar. People have a tendency to put greater focus and effort on what you inspect rather that what you expect. Reward for good results, and give correction when needed.
  • Guard against the pendulum effect, which is drifting from you doing everything, to complete abdication of knowing what is going on. 

The Diary

A very helpful tool is to keep a daily, running diary in some sort of tablet. Write down important thoughts, what you did, people you interacted with, decisions you made, phone numbers, addresses, results from appointments, agreements you made, and opportunities you observed. This gives you a record to go back to when needed. It is your “memory” of important things. 

With these insights from what the Bible says about time management, Esmie and I pray that you will achieve even greater things for the cause of Christ. We wish your efficiency to increase, and your stress to decrease – all to the glory of God.

Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman

BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS

1. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. What do these Bible verses tell you about priorities and timing regarding time management?

2. What does Galatians 4:4 and Ephesians 1:11 tell you about God and scheduling?

3. List and explain as many Bible time management principles as you can from Exodus 18:1-27.

4. What does the Bible say about delegation and time management from 1 Corinthians 4:17?

5. Read Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14-30. What can you learn about the wise investment of the resources God gives you – which includes time?

6. Read the story of Joseph in Genesis 41:25-57. Identify and explain as many principles of time management as you can, including goal setting, priorities, delegation, scheduling, deadlines, lists, and any other principles you can discover. 

7. According to Psalm 90:12; 39:4, what are the writer’s attitudes toward time management?

8. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12. How do these verses relate to how you invest your time, talent, and treasure?

9. In what areas is your time management successful? In what areas could your time management improve? What steps can you take to improve?

10. What stands out to you the most in this study regarding what the Bible says about time management? Explain.

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