Good time management is the bold choice to actually live. Bad time management is the fearful choice to barely live.
Although time management involves all sorts of helpful techniques and skills, ultimately it comes down to raw choice. Which do you want: to actually live or to barely live? God gives you your life. He gives you a story to write according to your gifts, imagination and limitations. Will you take Him up on it or reflexively forfeit your life to the path of least resistance?
Barely living is playing it safe, choosing the least resistant path. What does this kind of life look like? For example, what happens when I sit down to my task of writing this post (an activity that invigorates me, a topic that benefits me)?
The first sensation is fear. A series of anxious statements march through my chest; “What if I don’t have anything to say?” “What if I struggle with words?” “What if I succeed and more is expected of me?” When I experience this fear, I suddenly remember the “need” to check a sports score, go to the bathroom, or refill my drink.
So I do. I check the score, go to the bathroom, and refill my drink. Fifteen minutes later, I sit back down in front of the blank screen. Without breaking a sweat, I have succeeding in barely living, a cycle I can repeat all day/week/year. And it works. I escape the fear in the moment. I escape the vertigo at the edge of possibility and scurry back into safe activities that don’t invigorate me nor truly benefit me.
Actually living is the reverse of playing it safe. When the fearful thoughts come, good time management moves into fear instead of reflexively escaping it. In the example of writing, it is facing the blank page, trying sentences, erasing them and trying again. Courage is letting yourself think, experiment, fail and succeed. Actually living is actually choosing.
Good time management always comes down to courage to choose. You must face the fear before you accomplish any task (Doing). You must face your fear before you become who you are (Being).
1 – Next time you write your to-do list name an associated fear next to each item (by doing this, you are already beginning to face it).
2 – Ask God to grant you courage to walk into that fear.
3 – Then, of course, walk into it – but with a different mindset. You aren’t merely doing tasks; you are being courageous, choice-by-choice. You are boldly choosing to actually live the life God gave you.
Roger Edwards joined The Barnabas Center in 1991. In addition to counseling individuals & couples, Roger teaches & leads discussion groups about applying the Bible to everyday life. He is a licensed professional counselor, holds a master’s degree in biblical counseling from Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana & earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from UNCC. He is married to Jean, and they have seven children.