The majority of people in society at large will choose money.
But the truth is; how you spend your time is far more important than how you spend your money.
Lost money can be regained, but time, once it’s lost – it’s gone forever.
Money mistakes can be corrected; but time mistakes – apart from the grace of God – are made forever.
If you have a lot of money, but you have only two weeks to live, you are not a rich man.
But if you have time and no money, you can use your time to get money.
In fact, you can convert your time into just about anything you want.
God doesn’t really give us money – He gives us time and we convert it into money.
God doesn’t really give us friends – He gives us time and we convert it into friends.
God doesn’t really give us knowledge – He gives us time and we convert it into knowledge
What am I trying to say?
Your time is your most valuable resource; therefore you must guard it jealously
You must be wise and deliberate about how you use it
Look at Ephesians 5:15-17 again
15 Look carefully then how you walk! Watch your step. Use your head. Don’t live like ignorant people, but like wise people. Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),
16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish , don’t lie carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.
Remember, every minute you live is an irreplaceable resource that is limited in supply.
Every minute you live is a gift from God; and you have the responsibility to maximise it.
Remember that life is short – no one has the luxury of living forever in this mortal state.
We are mortal and our life will eventually end.
And the more we appreciate the value of time, the wiser we become at using it.
If you want to know the value of . . .
One year . . . ask the student who failed the final exam
One month . . . ask the mother of a premature baby
One week . . . ask the editor of a weekly newspaper
One day . . . ask the daily wage earner who has six children
One hour . . . ask lovers who are waiting to meet
One minute . . . ask the passenger who missed the flight
One second . . . ask the person who survived the accident
One millisecond . . . ask the Olympic silver medallist
YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS; YOUR TIME IS PRICELESS
Poet Carl Sandburg said; “Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful you do not let other people spend it for you”.
Now, because your time is precious; and it is limited in supply, you have to be very selective what you put in it.
And that brings me to the big issue of priorities.
Priority simply means determining what comes before what.
From the word ‘prior’ which means ‘before’.
It means in the use of my time, one comes before two and two comes before three . . . and so on.
It means, my daily activities are on a queue – I attend to the most important thing first; and then the next most important thing – and so on.
It means everything is not equally important to me.
Not everything requires equal time attention and energy.
You can’t give the same amount of time, attention or energy to everything or everyone.
Some things require five minutes – don’t give those things one hour.
Some things require one hour – don’t give those things five minutes.
Same with people.
How do you know which things or people require five minutes versus one hour?
The things that are most important should never be at the mercy of the things that are least important.
So, because you cannot do everything, be everywhere or please everybody; you have to choose.
Chinese author, Lin Yutang said; “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of the non-essentials.
Philosopher William James said; “The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook”.
How do you decide what to overlook?
ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES
Your priorities help you to determine how to spend your time
And the converse is true – the way you spend your time is a good indicator of your priorities
Have you ever found yourself thinking; “I need more time”?
Well, newsflash – you’re not going to get it!
No one gets more time
There are 24 hours in the day – that is 1,440 minutes – and everybody gets the same
The president doesn’t get more, the school janitor doesn’t get less.
So, what determines the value of our lives is the value of what we put into our time.
Since you cannot change time; you must change what you put in it.
If you want to change your life, you need to change your priorities.
If this year is going to be different from last year, then your priorities this year must be different from your priorities last year.
ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES
And if you don’t establish your priorities, someone else will.
If you don’t decide how your day will be spent, someone else will.
Have you noticed that people who have nothing to do usually want to so it with you?
What are the benefits of establishing your priorities?
1. Priorities help you separate what is most important from what is least important.
2. Priorities liberate you from the tyranny of the urgent
Just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it is important
The simple question is: “What is the worst that will happen if I don’t attend to this thing?”
3. Priorities release you from the guilt of not doing everything
4. Priorities help you eliminate distractions
My Psychology professor used to say: “If you have two conflicting duties, one of them is not your duty”
And we added: “It is your pleasure”
5. Priorities help you obtain the highest return on the investment of your time
Any time you see people fulfil their dreams; any time you see people attain the highest level in their career, you can be sure that priorities have been very important to them
ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES
Let me close by giving you a five step strategy for establishing your priorities
STEP 1: ARTICULATE THE GOALS
Three categories – yearly, weekly, daily
In order to do this, you need to create three lists
1. Write down the five most important things you want to achieve this year
It doesn’t have to be a permanent list - you can review it as the year unfolds, but start with a list
If you don’t have this first list, you have given your year the permission to unfold in a random fashion
My list for this year is to:
Practise the presence of God
Promote my health
Produce extra wealth
Preach for transformation
2. Write down the five most important things you need to achieve this week
Now you may have more than five, but work from a list of five – the most important
Write down the five most important things you have to achieve today
STEP 2: ANSWER THE QUESTIONS
These answers will help you to determine what must be on your list and what number to assign to them
What are the four R’s
Reach, Required, Returns, Reward
1. Where do I want to reach?
This is the goal question
This year, this week, this day
2. What is required of me?
This is the duty question
This year, this week, today
What is required of me - as a spouse, as a parent, as an employee, as a team leader?
Remember, if you have two conflicting duties, one of them is not your duty
3. What will give me the greatest return?
This is the efficiency question
Very quickly you will find that some activities give you a greater return on the investment of your time and effort
Concentrate on those
This is also a way to determine your strengths
4. What will give me the greatest reward?
This is the fulfilment question
Reward of fulfilment, finances and favour
STEP 3: ASSIGN THE NUMBERS
Take a close look at your list of five and assign a priority number to each one
Which one must come first, second, third, fourth and fifth
STEP 4: ALLOCATE THE TIME
For example, for your yearly list, how many hours per week should you give to each item?
Same for your weekly and daily lists
But beyond allocating a timeframe for these, now allocate a specific time e.g. 8.00 to 9.00 p.m.
Take the first item on your daily list and start to work on it – and stay with it until it is completed
Then take the second item, then the third until all five are done
What if you only managed to finish item one?
Will this always happen the neat way you arranged it?
No – there will be interruptions and eventualities
But you will still achieve far more than if you did not establish your priorities
If you want to increase your focus this year, if you want to increase your productivity, if you want to become more effective, ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES.