Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Faith and Time Management

I woke up this morning with a thousand things on my to-do list. It's a list that seems to grow daily, and I've been feeling the weight of it recently.  My first thought was, "Oh, no, it's Wednesday".  Why was that my first thought? Because Wednesday means Mass, Adoration, Catechism classes, and Catholicism studies. That's a whole lot of time out of the house, time that I can't use to catch up on projects. My second thought was, "Really? Really?? Mass isn't an intrusion on your time, it's the reason you have time!"

That's when I knew it was time to sit down with God and have a talk about my life.  You see, if Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy. He'll fill your plate so full of things that don't matter that the important stuff starts to feel like a burden to you rather than a joy. You start telling yourself you don't have time for Mass, don't have time to pray, don't have time for the kids today, don't have time for your spouse, don't have time for that friend who needs you.  Before long, you are drifting away from your faith and are snowed under with so many projects you can't even think straight anymore.

The Top 10 Signs you've over committed yourself or need help with Time Management:

1) Constantly apologizing for failed commitments

2) Constantly feeling pressured to do more than you have time to do.

3) Skipping out on the important things because you "don't have time" for them

4) Persistent guilty feeling that you're letting others down

5) Missing important deadlines, forgetting major appointments

6) Inability to say no when someone asks you to do something new

7) Feeling ragged, burned out, stretched thin

8) Skipping sleep in order to "get more done"

9) Lists of 25 things or more to get done in a single day

10) Catching yourself saying, "I don't have time for this" on a regular basis

After my appointment with God this morning, which took longer than I expected it to take but was very fruitful, I realized that Time management isn't about doing more - it's about doing less so that you can give your very best attention to the things you are doing.  It reduces your commitments and the stress that over committing causes you.  It's difficult, though, because it requires you to acknowledge your weaknesses and ask for help from other people.  However, the upside of that is that when you manage your time properly, you'll be able to get things done without losing sight of the things that truly matter.

We often overload our plate with projects because we underestimate how long a project will take us, we haven't kept proper track of everything we've agreed to do, we don't want to hurt someone else's feelings, or we aren't sure that anyone else will do this job if we don't do it.  This is where we really need to seek God's guidance before giving our yes to anything new. He knows our limitations. He knows what actually needs doing and what we just think needs to be done. He understands how tough it can be to say no to someone you love, and the fear that we face of disappointing them, but also realizes that saying no to something we aren't ready to fully commit to may only mean that we'll disappoint everyone even more.

In a busy world, it's easy to tell ourselves we don't have time for God. However, He is never a waste of time.  The time we take to spend with Him often reduces the amount of time we'll waste on things that don't matter, and can provide key insights into finishing the things that do.  If you're showing symptoms of poor time management, I recommend taking a break.  Pour a cup of tea or whatever favorite beverage you have and sit down with God.  Tell Him about your day, then let Him show you a better way.

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