I’ve tried them all. The best advice and tools I could find to manage my time. Batching. Bullet Journaling. Pomodoro Method. And all the planners …. even one I designed myself from scratch.
Each of those things have their own strengths, but still. At the end of the week, I was looking back, wondering why there were so many things left on my to-do list and where all of my time went.
My favorite Bible verse … my life verse … is Matthew 11:28-30
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (MSG)
That verse touches a tender spot way deep in my soul, because I so often feel tired, worn out and burned out. I yearn to live freely and lightly. But another part of the verse I love is where Jesus extends this invitation to us: “Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it.” The NIV translation says “Learn from me.”
So as I struggled to figure out why my time was the boss of me, I accepted that invitation. I watched how Jesus moved in a gracious rhythm through the pressures of time while living a busy life. I saw three things that I can apply to my life and move towards living freely and lightly.
Jesus focused on what was in front of him at the moment
Jesus was totally present wherever he was present. If he were physically here today, he wouldn’t be the one looking at his iPhone at the dinner table. Or try to write a blog post while watching This is Us. (#guilty #bothcounts)
He pressed into the crowd when people told him there were other “important” needs. He listened, focused and took care of the tasks where he was without being distracted by what was happening elsewhere.
How much more could we get done if we had that kind of focus?
Jesus didn’t worry about what was going undone
How many times did people run to Jesus and tell him he had to do something “right now”? Or how often did he withdraw to rest when there were so many needs?
He didn’t worry about what was going undone because he knew it would be done when it was time to do it. He had in mind a specific time and place where those needs would be taken care of.
Wouldn’t our minds be more free and light if we weren’t weighed down by the nagging feeling that there’s something else we should be doing?
Jesus didn’t try to achieve “balance”
Oh my friends. “Balance” is the greatest time management myth. Do you know what “balance” means? It means applying equal effort to all things at all times. Really?? No wonder we feel so guilty when we fall short of that ideal “balance”. If balance is what we seek, we are set up for failure from the beginning.
Jesus had no concept of “balance”. The rhythms of grace guided him where his attention was most needed. At different times, he would mentor the disciples, school the Pharisees and honor his mother and father. But he didn’t try to do them all at once, or give them equal effort all the time.
Could practicing rhythms instead of chasing the myth of balance keep us from being tired and worn out?
No matter what tools and tips and techniques we use to gain control of our time, instead of letting time control us, we’ll never find any that work better than following these three time management tips I learned from Jesus.