We normally think about time management in terms of personal productivity – we want to manage our time well so that we can accomplish things, finish what we start, achieve goals, and pursue excellence. We want to avoid time wasters, unorganized schedules, and time spent on things of lesser priority because it robs us of getting the right things done at the right time. We think about productivity in terms of ourselves as individuals.
But have you ever considered that our poor time management also robs others? That how we manage our time has an impact on how well we are able to love and serve those around us?
If our life is unorganized and full of mismanaged time, we cannot be present for others in a way that serves them. Every second that we mismanage our time is a second we cannot give ourselves away in service to other people. If we do not schedule adequate time to do our tasks, take care of our responsibilities, build in necessary rest, then we’ll steal time that we should give away to serve others instead.
I should be motivated to plan out my life in the most efficient manner possible so that I am free to give myself away in love to other people. Time management is not just a tool for personal productivity, it is a tool of a heart for others.
When I’m scrambling around over a weekend to finish school work that should have been done through regular discipline throughout the semester, I am robbing my kids of uninterrupted time they could be spending with their father. When I’m in my church office past midnight on Saturday night to finish my sermon because I let less important tasks crowd out my sermon study time during the week, I’m robbing my wife of my arms and kiss on the cheek after a long day as we go to bed together. When I blow off finishing the remodel of our den because I want to sit and watch college basketball on a Saturday, I rob others of the life-giving fellowship they could be sharing over our dinner table.
Good time management isn’t just about personal productivity. It is about shaping a life that is free from the tyranny of the deadline so that we are able to give ourselves away to others with our full presence, our full mental awareness, and our full joyful attention.
So don’t only let personal ambition (which is often good when directed at accomplishing the right things for the right reasons!) drive your efforts at good time management. Let the loving service that you can render to those around you motivate you to organize that schedule, kill those time wasters, and seize the best parts of the day. Let love lead!