It sometimes seems as though a 24- hour day is not enough to finish everything that is needed to be accomplished in a day. It seems that day-to-day life gets busier and busier until many people begin to feel they are drowning in work. Time management can help us gain control of our lives and our workload.
Rex W. Allred, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (sometimes called the “Mormon Church”) gave some counsel regarding time management. Balancing family, church, community service, employment, the needs of other people, and spiritual matters takes skill and practice, but it can be done.
Concepts of Time Management:
- . People must not manage time but should manage themselves in the amount of time that they have: Rex W. Allred said “we are really addressing the subject of self-management. We must learn to operate most effectively in the uniform allotment of time each of us has received.”
- Constant focus on results: Rex W. Allred further said: “The leader who focuses on the required results rather than on activities will find the greater results actually occurring. We often race at high speeds all day only to discover that we have been doing things rather than getting things done. We have been involved in many activities but have not accomplished the results.”
- Be effective rather than being just efficient: Direction is more important than speed in most areas of leadership and task-doing. Indeed, it is better to be smarter than just being a hard worker. Rex W. Allred gave an example “In our Church work, we may be holding committee meetings and presidency meetings and planning simply because we are supposed to hold them, forgetting that they are tools that should lead to desired results. If the meeting does not foster a desired result in the building of the kingdom, why hold it? Either make the meeting a valuable tool or cancel it.”
Skills needed for effective time and self management:
1. A purpose to each season
In Eccl. 3:1 it says that: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” It is a not a good practice to stay in the past or to just think about the future without focusing on what is important to the purpose of the present life’s season. Robert F. Bohn shared the following example: “it is sad to see a mother with young children escaping to the college classroom because it is intellectually stimulating and reminds her of her university days, while her children run unsupervised. It is equally sad to see a young teenage girl marrying too soon and having to cope with the responsibility of motherhood before she has finished her high school years.”
Each season and each period in a person’s life has a purpose by which one should live by. We should fulfill and experience each purpose at the proper time.
2. People need to set goals and to write down their priorities as a guide. They may also set a date for each goal for a clearer idea of what needs to be done and when it needs to be accomplished. In this principle of time management, there may be a question about what to prioritize when two right principles conflict. Examples are the given counsels about spending time with family vs. fulfilling Church callings.
Robert F. Bohn said: “The key is realizing that each situation has to be prayerfully considered—that what may be right in one situation may not be applicable in another. In seeking priorities, we should determine which option is the most important in specific instances. For example, a crucial moment in a child’s life requiring the parents’ attention may take priority over a specific Church responsibility; but at another time, the spiritual welfare of a fellow ward member may take priority over watching a TV football game with a son. Accordingly, the question “Which comes first—the family or the Church?” is really the wrong question, if one answer is sought in all cases. The family and the Church are of prime importance, both are of God, and either may take precedence, depending upon the specific situation. Both are integral parts of the greater whole, namely the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of our greatest individual needs is for each of us to learn to live by the Spirit. As we become sensitive to the Holy Ghost, we can better establish priorities for each season or circumstance that will be acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.”
3. Be Organized
Keep everything organized. People waste time looking for things they need just because their things are not arranged in an orderly manner. Oftentimes, they don’t think about a step-by-step process or moves on how to make a task done. It is then important that at the start of a day or in fulfilling a needed task, one must commit to an organized and bit by bit way on how to achieve his or her goal.
4. Do not procrastinate.
Do it now. Eliminate needless time killers and start doing what is essential. Don’t spend too much time talking on the telephone, checking the email every half an hour, complaining about the traffic jam, watching too much television, gossiping etc. Elder Donald Hallstrom of the Seventy said that “Procrastination may seem the easy way, as it momentarily removes the effort required to accomplish something of value. Ironically, in time, procrastination produces a heavy burden laced with guilt and a hollow lack of satisfaction. Temporal and, even more importantly, spiritual goals will not be achieved by procrastination.”
5. Putting it all together
Find harmony in life. The schedule one has may be chaotic for one day, but it should not be an excuse to neglect to accomplish things that are of greater importance. Many demands may set in, but as one learns how to put the entire task together, the essentials could still be achieved. The Lord told Joseph Smith (the first prophet of the latter days) “For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves” (D&C 58:28). With inspiration from the Lord, one can still maintain balance and exercise his free agency to do the responsibilities that rest upon his shoulders.
Managing one’s time effectively may be a very difficult skill to adopt, but as it is done and exercised often It becomes a habit. Time management as a result of self-management can help a person live each day of his life with ease. If done well, one can achieve more tasks in a lesser period of time. Other advantages of time management include gaining time for other worthwhile activities, better motivation, reducing avoidance of a task, eliminating cramming, and reducing anxiety. Most of all, it helps one focus on what is really needed and what is really essential and are of real worth.
Dale Van Atta, “J. Willard Marriott, Jr.: “A Time to Every Purpose””, Ensign, Oct. 1982, 26
Rex W. Allred, “Personal Time Management: One Key to a Leader’s Effectiveness”, New Era, June 1977, 24
Robert F. Bohn, “The Many Voices: How to Balance the Demands on Your Time”, Ensign, Aug. 1979, 16