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Manage Every Moment

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Manage Every Moment

Time is a gift. In order to have an abundant, successful life, you must wisely use this limited resource.

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Running late in the morning. An hour of gridlock traffic. A stressful day at work. Another hour of gridlock traffic. Head to the gym. Grocery shopping. The car needs an oil change. Household chores—dishes, laundry, cleaning. Bills to pay. Prepare for tomorrow. Pass out from exhaustion.

This routine plays out for millions, who conclude there are simply not enough hours in the day. After another 24 hours, they are again left fatigued, thinking, Where did my time go?

The constant crush of a hectic daily schedule can leave people craving a sense of balance—in an off-kilter, haphazard and busy world.

During this entire time, your body generally stays within a 98.6-degree range. When resting, your heart beats regularly. This is called homeostasis, which Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines as the “state of equilibrium (balance between opposing pressures) in the body with respect to various functions.”

In contrast to the body, many people feel their lives are always “out of whack.” They long to keep a balanced routine and have time to relax. They long for homeostasis.

Yet there seem to be too many things to pursue, with each one demanding time. This ultimately throws people off balance.

In his book, Time Management: Proven Techniques for Making the Most of Your Valuable Time, Marshall J. Cook listed the side effects of a fast-paced lifestyle, which he calls “Speed Sickness”: “nervousness,” “depression,” “fatigue,” “unwillingness and even inability to stop working,” and “inability to relax even when you do stop working.”

Mr. Cook said that if you keep driving in the “fast lane,” your immune system will deteriorate, which could result in chronic heart disease and other ailments. Many who live this way also succumb to drug and alcohol dependency.

How does one find equilibrium? The answer is simple. There are a series of principles that—when applied—will help you multiply your time. Following these will bring balance to your life.

Manage What You Have

Each person has the same number of minutes per day. To manage every moment of your life, you must first learn to effectively use the time you have. There are a few common areas that drain your time. Finding and fixing these problems will reveal that you have more room in your schedule than you think.

• Disorganization: Live by the saying, “There is a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Every item in your work and living space should have a “home.” This way, when you need something, you will know exactly where it is, and will not waste time searching for it. When finished with an item, immediately return it to its proper place.

• Time thieves: Do not give in to the “just quickly” phenomenon. While busy with an important task, one might say, “I am just quickly going to call my friend,” or “just quickly going to check my email.” Such interruptions break your focus, and will likely cause a task to be unnecessarily dragged out.

In the book Time Management: 24 Techniques to Make Each Minute Count at Work, Marc Mancini wrote, “We each have a personal perspective of time…Most people have a poorly defined sense of how they spend their time.” Pay attention to where your time goes. Cut out any unprofitable activities.

• Poor work habits: United States businesses lose approximately $544 billion each year due to employees wasting time during working hours. Internet surfing accounted for the biggest chunk, with workers unnecessarily spending almost two hours per day on the Web.

Do not let this define you. By establishing proper and organized systems, you can reduce the amount of time you waste, and thus reduce the amount of stress in your life—not only at work, but home as well. Work out specific routines for daily tasks, even write out checklists. Each time a task is repeated, you will perform it faster and more effectively than before.

With your life less cluttered and mandatory tasks completed more quickly, you will realize there is more time available each day—raising the question of how to use it. Spend it with family? Pursue favorite hobbies? Have more down time?

To truly get the most out of the time you have, there must be a driving purpose to your actions.

Clear Goal

Think again about the principle of homeostasis. The physiological functions of your body are naturally balanced as a result of certain scientific laws. For instance, each person has only 24 hours in a day. About eight of those hours are used for sleep. Roughly an hour goes into eating meals. With household chores, exercise, and all other activities, those 24 hours are quickly used up. Trying to “burn the candle at both ends” will run down your immune system, leading to frequent colds or chronic illness. Each person must acknowledge these natural limitations.

Similarly, you must keep your life within certain limits. But who sets these standards? Many philosophers and thinkers have spent their entire lives trying to figure out the purpose of human existence—how time should be spent.

Yet just one book of wisdom would have helped them realize that their own conclusions about “the purpose of life” are useless. In fact, they would have had to read just one phrase in the millennia-old book: “…I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).

The Bible reveals that man does not know how to “direct his steps”! Only through the wisdom of God, and the boundaries He sets for human life, can one find purpose in life—and even make up for lost time.

Don’t Spend—Invest!

The Bible is God’s Instruction Manual for mankind. Its pages detail how to live effectively and bring balance to your life. Some of its wisdom is simple, as with this rhetorical question from Jesus: “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9)—meaning, a person is only given a certain amount of time each day to work, and the rest must be left for tomorrow. The Bible also lays a framework of how to most effectively invest your time—rather than merely spend it. That framework is God’s Law.

When many hear the words “God’s Law,” they immediately think of a seemingly oppressive list of “thou shalt nots”—meaning you miss out on living life.

Not so! Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 expands on this abundant life: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”

The next six verses state there is a time to “kill,” “heal,” “break down,” “build up,” “weep,” “laugh,” “mourn,” “dance,” “embrace,” “refrain from embracing,” “get,” “lose,” “keep silence,” “speak,” “love,” “hate,” “war” and “peace.”

This passage describes a full life! Yet many misunderstand it, instead believing it means they can do whatever they please with their time.

The end of Ecclesiastes reveals the true meaning for “a time to every purpose under heaven.” Notice: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13).

The King James translators added the word “duty,” which is why it is italicized in the original text. Removing the word increases the verse’s meaning: “Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole man.”

You are allowed every wide and varied “purpose under heaven”—as long as it is within the realm of God’s Law.

Living a Commandment-keeping life will bring balance—and purpose—to even the busiest schedule. God exhorts each person, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time…” (Eph. 5:15-16). The Greek word for “redeeming” means to “buy off” and “recover from the power of another.”

In addition, by living within the realm of God’s Law, “your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased” (Prov. 9:10-11).

To get the most out of life, invest your time into living God’s Way. Doing so will bring about a balanced, “abundant life,” where your days can be “multiplied” and you can “recover” previously wasted time.

For a fuller understanding of God’s Law, and how each principle will bring balance to your life, read The Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation?

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