george_hancockstefanOne of the reasons that I like to go on conferences and retreats is the challenging presentations that one hears. They are better than a direct analysis because they are less confrontational. One can listen and allow the presentation to be used by the Holy Spirit in our individual lives, without immediately becoming defensive.

One of the things that I have noticed mentioned in various presentations is the great time wasters. The best time managers forever calibrate the maximum effectiveness of their time. As I reflected on managing the time effectively in my own life, I have reflected on three recent examples that were given by some of my friends.

My first example has to do with the inundation of one’s mail box when the kids are ready to go to college. I have two children who are one year apart. Brochures and college advertisements make up the bulk of the postman’s load. Once he delivers all that weight to our house, he looks much happier. Both of my kids have selected about 6-10 colleges that were interested in. One is leaving this week for the college of her choice, while the other is a senior in high school. One of them decided to look at almost every college and keep the brochures in her room just in case, even though she was not interested in those colleges, while the other decided to toss them away in the kitchen shortly after their delivery. The reading of this college material, though enlightening, was a waste of time. I have learned to look at information and to dismiss it quickly unless I find it to be of great interest or something that will help me in the jobs that I do.

One of my administrative colleagues decided that she will not read the news and her emails except one time a day. She reads all of this within the first hour in her office. The reason for her choice was that she found herself going over the news countless times during a day, sometimes even reviewing those articles that she has read already. She wanted to be informed, she wanted to read the latest news, but for her it became a time waster. The more complicated work was pushed aside because the emails and the news were more attractive. I took her example and I am guarding my computer time with greater diligence.

Another pastor shared a story about some of the volunteers that came to help with the office work. He and the secretary decided that if they have the assistance of the volunteers, they will be able to finish their work by Friday at noon. After one month they found out that when they worked with one specific volunteer, they left later than when this person was not there to help them. The reason for this lateness was that the volunteer welcomed this time to spend talking with the pastor and the secretary and instead of speeding things up, all three ended talking with one another. What was perceived as possible help became a time waster.

In our Baptist denomination we have always emphasized the three T’s when people joined our churches – time, talents and treasure. While talents and treasure can be found in various degrees among each of us, in regards to the first one we are on equal footing. We all have 24 hours in a day and we should examine how wisely we use those hours.