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Internal and External Barriers to Time Management (3 min read)

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

People I work with are accustomed to my saying, “It is a process.” When we start a new initiative or try to improve a procedure, there is usually a learning curve. There may be some unexpected things that occur, and we work through them as we learn what works well and what does not. We may not fully understand the impact of some things until they are in progress. We do not automatically become better at something until we start initiating it or practicing it. It is the same with successful time management.

Even with the best time management, however, things can happen that overload us. It is reasonable to expect this may occasionally happen, but it should never become the norm for you. Continue to:

  • set your priorities on what needs to be done

  • set timelines,

  • stay focused,

  • bring in extra help as needed, and

  • complete what you need to complete.

A prime example of being overloaded with new priorities has been COVID-19. This is something which has occurred to us outside of our control and has certainly affected our time management with its changes and new priorities. This major impact on our time was not in our control yet needed to be dealt with.

The good news is there are many things within our control which make a huge difference in effective time management. You can control things such as:

  1. What you say “yes” or “no” to

  2. How many tasks or special projects you are going to be involved in

  3. What priorities you decide upon

  4. When and who you delegate to

  5. Staying focused on the task at hand

  6. Determining when you have done your best job

One of the factors within our control is whether we say “yes” or “no” to requests. Have you ever said “yes” with a smile, but your heart and mind were saying a loud “no!”? This has certainly happened to all of us. And it is ok if it happens occasionally, but it cannot be an on-going issue. If it is, then it is time to turn to God to ask for His wisdom and insight into why you cannot say “no”. It may be fear of letting someone down or it could be not knowing how to say no without feeling guilty. I often say to people that “yes means no.” There is a cost when we say yes. Saying “yes” to another project may mean “no” to time with your family, as you need to spend extra time on the project. Saying “yes” to a volunteer opportunity may mean saying “no” to doing what you feel the Lord really wants you to use your time and gifts. Perhaps it is really an opportunity for someone else to use their gifts.

The next time you are asked to do something, do not be quick to answer. Rather:

  • tell the person you will get back to them

  • pray about it

  • discuss it with family and friends, and

  • see where your peace lies.

None of us can say “yes” to everything, so we need to be making wise choices.

If you are someone who has tended to always say “yes,” then this will be a process. It is helpful to read a good book on this common area of concern or spend time talking to a trusted advisor on why it is difficult for you to say “no”. Remember, it will be a process as you develop your own understanding of your reasons for saying yes or no, and your own style of communicating your decisions. Remember, God wants you to have peace and joy as you spend time doing His Will in His Way.

This Week’s Prayer:

Lord, You are an awesome and loving God who wants the best for me, Your child. I do not believe it is Your will for me to be hurried, anxious, busy, stressed. Because then, I cannot hear Your voice, recognize people’s needs, see opportunities to serve, have time to serve and love You & others. Help me to be in Your will, know Your plans for me, rest & be still in You, and to be disciplined. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This week, be prayerfully conscious of when you say “yes” and when you say “no”. May God richly bless you as you honor Him with your gift of time.

Have a wonderful week.

Bonny, Christian Women at Work

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