I promised to share some time management tips I learnt from finally publishing my first book 13 long years after I began my first of many unfinished manuscripts. Like I said here, it is extremely difficult for any person to fulfil the purpose of God for one’s life without learning how to manage time effectively. We also cannot enjoy the peak of intimacy with God in daily personal fellowship with Him if we are always falling behind in meeting up with our schedules.
|Write the vision, make it plain.|
1. Set Your Goals: This is like making a to-do list. Here, simplicity is very important and you need to be as specific as possible. Exactly what do you want to do and when is it expected to be done? For me, it was that the manuscript had to be complete by the end of January 2013. For you, it may be to start and complete a deep, personal study of the entire New Testament within a year.
It is important to note this goal and keep your deadline in mind. Try to break them into stages and tasks and start from the foundation up. I divided the book into likely chapters and started working my way through. For the example I started with, you may divide the New Testament into books, or better still, chapters. There are 269 chapters. Divided by 365 days, it means that you have to read at least 70% of one chapter every day. Now it doesn’t seem so daunting. Does it? Breaking it down will help you take baby steps towards the set goal.
(Hab 2:2-3 [KJV]) And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
2. Have an Accountability Partner: This is another great reason to have your own Barnabas. He can inspire you, motivate you, follow up on your progress and call your attention when you slack and take your eyes off the goal.
It is better to choose someone with whom you share similar positive value and who also believe that your goal is worth achieving. This person should be able to frankly correct you without being rude or demeaning. But it should also be someone whom you respect and value your relationship with because sometimes, it is just the thought of not letting them down that will keep you going.
I told my friend about my intention to unfailingly have a ready manuscript by January. Last day of December, all I had was an idea. My friend called me to ask how far I had gone when he heard I was on ground zero, he wasn’t pleased. He inspired and threatened and somehow, that just got me off the couch.
(Amos 3:3 [KJV]) Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
(Prov 27:17 [KJV]) Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
3. Strike while the Iron is hot: There is a reason people keep their New Year resolutions for at least a few days into the new year- they are freshly inspired, charged and motivated. The intensity of the decision is still high and emotional capital to back it up is still in supply. Maybe you took the decision to do the study after you heard a ‘hot sermon’ on the importance of knowing The Word and you got really challenged. Take the energy you got and plough with it as soon and for as long as you can. This is because motivational speeches are sometimes like cocaine; the high can only last for a while. If you do all you can with the ‘high’, when it fizzles out, you will be encouraged with what you’ve accomplished so far. Then, it will be your work that encourages you-not you encouraging yourself to work. That was my experience. After I wrote the first pages, I was impressed! Of course, this contributed to my staying on.
If you start reading the Gospels, and gradually finish the book of Matthew, you are better off than never starting at all.
(John 9:4 [KJV]) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.(Eccl 11:1 [KJV]) Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
To be continued…
What project are you working on or have you worked on? What time-management tips helped you to accomplish the projects on time?