February 12, 2011
Tick Tock
Tick Tock RS
Last weekend, we continued our series, “Best Question Ever: What’s the Wise Thing to do?” Our lesson this week: “The Clock is Ticking.” Our focus: time management. Looking at my husband during the message, I knew that this week’s message really hit a nerve (and I know he’s not alone). 

Up until I graduated from college, every moment of my life had some sort of activity planned. I remember being involved in several extra-curricular activities outside of school growing up (dance, volunteer work, school clubs, etc)…and in college, I would attend classes in the morning so that I had plenty of time in the afternoon to go to work and participate in Student Government (among other activities). It was a constant hustle and bustle. If you have children of your own, you may find yourself spending hours in your car driving your kids from Point A to B…to Z. It’s nonstop!

Ecclesiastes 2:23 “All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.”

Have you been there? 
  • Constant hurry
  • Rushing even when it’s not necessary
  • Panic when you’ve left your cell phone at home (I tend to panic over my camera)
  • Starting a number of things, but never getting it all done 
  • Nights where your mind continued racing…long after your body was ready to rest? 
Yep – I’ve definitely struggled in this area. Like I said, the hustle and bustle continued up until I graduated from college. Upon graduation and entering the workforce, I recall feeling lost. I spent so many years in a rush, that I forgot how to enjoy life. The only way I knew to live was with several balls up in the air. Thus, I recreated that rush. However, that rush has created many sleepless nights and I’ve spent the past two years trying to adjust my actions and behaviors during the day so that I can get a peaceful night’s rest (I don’t drink caffeine past a certain hour, and I sleep with ear plugs and a eye mask).  This is clearly no ideal way to live, but we all do it. If  you were to talk to me in person, I would tell you that I focus on being content…allowing one or two very important things to guide me, rather than being thrown in a gazillion directions. No, I’m not the cleanest person (according to my husband) and I don’t always remember birthdays, but I’d much rather live this way:

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Which way would you rather live your life? And what are you doing with the time you’ve been given? Our minister offered some time management principles that I think make perfectly good sense:

Five Time Management Principles
  • There is a cumulative value in investing small amounts of time in certain activities over a long period of time (exercise, prayer, consistency in a schedule, etc.). We can look back at ourselves after a period of time and see change. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight and you hit the gym every day…and you stick to a diet, you’re going to visually notice a difference in how your clothes fit and how you feel!
  • Neglect also  has a cumulative effect over a period of time. If you ignore your health, marriage, finances, etc. – you will eventually notice an impact (and a negative one at that).
  • There are rarely any immediate consequences for neglecting any single installment of time in any one area of your life. For example, if we skip the gym one day…we usually won’t notice a significant difference.  However, if we skip the gym for six months, we will likely lose any muscle mass we’ve built up…and we’ll likely gain weight. This same principle could be applied toward our marriage or finances, or anything else for that matter.
  • There is NO cumulative value to the urgent things that we allow to interfere with the important things in our life. It is so easy to talk ourselves out of the things that are important. I recall all the times I’ve left the office planning on going to the gym…in the 10 minutes of driving from my office to the gym, I’ve talked myself out of going. Or the times where I really needed to finish a project at work…and then got caught up blogging (I hate to ask, but where does blogging fall in terms of the matrix below?). Looking back, these hours of wasted time amount to nothing.
Urgent Important
  • In the important areas of life, you cannot make up for lost time. There are no all-nighters or cram sessions (as we once did to prepare for an exam) as it relates to our relationships, our children, our health, etc. For example, if you miss six months of exercise, you can’t expect to make it all up in a day (ouch – painful!). The same applies with our relationships. 

Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Our time is so precious, so how do we get it back? Consider the following: 
  • Considering how I’ve lived my life in the past few weeks/months/years, what do I need to do different with my time? What do I need to remove from my life?
  • Considering what is going on right now in my life, what’s the wise thing to do with my time? 
  • Considering my future…my hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do with the time I have now?

So, if this an area of your life that needs attention…and this message has really spoken to your heart, write down the following words: Physical, Relationship, Profession and Spiritual
  • What is one thing you can do in each of these areas that will have a consistent, positive and cumulative value?
  • What could get in the way of you fulfilling these areas? No excuses – remove those obstacles! 
  • Who’s going to hold you accountable, other than yourself? And I’m serious, you need a partner…spouse, your children, your best friend, etc.  

With that said, I hope you enjoy the important things in life this weekend – enjoy your family and your children. Don’t feel that you have to apologize for stepping away from your blog.  Make the most of the time you have now, because we have very few “do over” opportunities. 

42 COMMENTS

    Great post, wonderful reminder.

    Great post… this is one of my resolutions, to really evaluate what is important and to plan my time accordingly! I spend so much time worrying about the bottom stuff that the top stuff gets pushed to the wayside. Ouch.

    I have a serious problem right now juggling. Kids, work, home, marriage. I’ve started making myself a schedule for when I work, which is helping me get the hours needed in, and now I have to work on getting the rest of my time managed too. I’ve saved this post for further reflection……it’s wonderful & just what I’ve needed! (ps…..Lily & I made me a photo challenge daytimer this morning, so I can possibly participate in more, while spending less time on blogger). Have a wonderful weekend!

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Wonderful post! I’ve really enjoyed these lessons. Love the picture.

    Something tells me blogging falls into time wasters ( unless it makes serious money). And oh how big of a time waster it is!!!!
    I am a huge fan of being productive and busy. If I am not, then i don’t feel right. However recently I started learning that there’s gotta be downtime. And that I dont have to feel guilty when I am simply doing things I like.
    So that being said, where do the rest/hobbies fall into?

    That photo could be an ad!!! Gorgeous. And I remember that chart…I think I did that in college. Puts everything in perspective doesn’t it? Fabulous post Ashely!!

    About the photo – at first I thought I had clicked on the wrong link because it looked like a professional ad that you’d see on a magazine. Awesome lighting and detail.

    About your words – great pep talk and reminder that we all need to stop sometimes and think about what’s important in life. Finding a balance between my family and feeding my own soul is daily struggle for me. I need to stop worrying so much and just relish in the day which is always filled with ups and downs.

    great post! well done :-)

    xoxo

    Very wise and practical. I enjoy your photos, but also your posts that offer prudent insight (philosophical and biblical) to life. (You could be dubbed “The Philosophical Photographer”). Great post.

    wb

    Wonderful post and photo. I have really been evaluating my life, but this helps soooo much. Thank you for this.

    This post is a great reminder that we need to slow down and enjoy the things that are most important like our family and relationship/marriage and just pure everyday. To stick to things that are good for us and stay away from things that are bad. I used to spend countless (worthless) hours on facebook but now it’s lucky if I update my status once per week! I’m glad I cut back on things like that, it takes a lot of time out of your life without you even realizing it!

    Along these lines, I have learned to forgive myself for not getting everything on my schedule done some days. In fact, some days I refuse to make a list and just go with it. The important parts get finished and I’ve cut way down on the stress. Great post.

    Great post! I’ve been dealing with anxiety/stress with grad school/future life plans, etc. and I’ve started reading those exact verses before I go to bed as my bedtime ritual…it’s really helped me with my sleep/overall health. Have a great weekend!

    What a great post! So very true!

    Beautiful post. I’ve saved this so I can come back & reflect on it in the future. Thanks for sharing. So inspiring!

    I’ve been off the grid for the past few weeks taking care of my Grandma in the hospital and just focusing on the things I need to do, work on, focus on…especially spiritually. I felt bad being away from the blogger world but sometimes you just have to step aside, focus & enjoy the things that mean the most.

    Thanks again for sharing….at the end of the day, I’m glad I’m back!

    Hope you’re having a great weekend! xo

    Woopsie, looks like something happened to my comment out there!! Ashley, thanks once again for this reflection..:)

    Oh, Ashley…I have thought about this very subject sooooooooooooooo much over the last few months, as B gets more and more active and time gets less and less. I have had to realize that time is not getting less and less, but the way I use time is all too often, wasteful.

    One of the songs on B’s Seeds Family Worship CD is Phil 4:6-7. While driving and singing these verses, I was stopped dead in my tracks and the LORD was saying, “Why are you anxious? Pray, petition me. Give me time and I will give you peace. “

    For all of the mothers reading this post, I must share a link to a comic that was a real reality check, when considering time with my son. http://www.wonderwomanwannabe.com/2011/02/on-being-busy.html

    Have a blessed weekend!!

    BTW, I love Warren’s name for you!

    Ashley, this a very good post, and it definitively touched me.

    I know that Urgent/Important matrix, I’ve seen it a lot in College, but somehow I always failed to apply it to myself, I gues I saw it as something “for companies only”, I don’t know.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this, I’ve been thinking about it and definitively will improve my time planning.

    Regards, Uriel

    Thank you for this. I’m going to write it all down in my journal right now, and put it into practice!

    Your photos seriously look like magazine ads. They are that good!!

    Great post, Ashley. It is something I need to work on that is for sure!

    I’m going to check out all the posts I have missed over the past couple of days. Computer problems have not let me view your posts properly.

    I’m back up and running so I’m off to see what I’ve missed!

    Fabulous post Ashley… as a home schooling mama now… I have never struggled with this more…*sigh* there are so few hours in the day to get it all done… and be a great mommy, wife and child of God!! =) Seizing my day one day at a time… surrendering myself to Him… many times over I consider dropping the blog b/c it would add back so much time… h/e it has become such a wonderful place to find and offer encouragement and inspiration with bloggers whose hearts are after God… =) I love that part about blogging… it was a wonderful unexpected surprise!

    Beautiful ashley!

    Sigh. One moment at a time.

    What an AWESOME post to accompany a great photo!

    Nice post. Time, we all need it but to use it to Glorify God is what matter. And I would say prayer is very important. that can be done anytime anywhere and for how ever long.

    Oh Ashley, you are so right on this one. And since I’m hyperactive, things can pile up fast! I learned to stop and stay quiet and collect my thoughts and to-do list. I just do what I can and do it well.

    I love the insight on time management. Such great reminders! Thanks for sharing.

    I need this reminder daily!

    Amen! Our sermon this morning was actually very similar to this – it was about Israel’s idols vs our modern day idols, which include blogger, facebook, etc.

    Ashley,
    love, love, love it! i have been meditating on these scriptures lately. thank you for connecting them so eloquently to the watch. what a great picture!

    Awesome post and a I lerned a lot.. thanks for sharing.. OF course I love your photo, but then you have never posted one that I d o not like!

    Ashley,

    Well said, I needed this tonight. Great word.

    Have a blessed week ahead.

    Ashley, Absolutely stunning photo to illustrate an important Bible verse. Time to sit and reflect!

    Blessings,
    Christine

    Great points! I’ve been struggling with time management and you’ve really hit the head on this!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Wonderful insights and beautiful photo too. Thanks for sharing. God bless!

    Great photo… and can totally agree with what you wrote, too.

    I’m kind of in that space right now… trying to decide what’s most important.

    Going to reread this one. :)

    Beautiful illustration, and I love your takeaways from last Sunday. Thanks for sharing…it’s great wisdom!

    Wonder if you might be interested in this new linkup — Hear It On Sunday ~ Use It On Monday — hosted by Michelle deRusha at Graceful?

    http://nebraskagraceful.blogspot.com/2011/02/hear-it-on-sunday-use-it-on-monday.html

    100% true! I feel like blogging was taking so much time last year, and for what? I couldn’t even find 15 mintues for Bible study each day. (I still can’t!) It’s ridiculous. Thank you for the reminder. I need to do better.

    Thanks for sharing! I love the simple subject matter with great composition to illustrate such a wonderful verse!

    way cool shot… with some of my favorite words from scripture!

    wonderful!


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