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Time Management

by Stewart Dinnen

Interact Magazine 1997
Volume 1 Number 2

We can choose to live with an awareness of time or we can drift and be oblivious to it. On the other hand we can be in bondage to it… what is the secret of a good use of time? Self-Management.

1.  Evaluate Every Activity


How do your activities contribute to your known goals? This of course pre-supposes that you have goals! Long term, medium term, and daily/weekly ones. If these goals are in place (and in your diary) they enable you to respond to legitimate things, refuse the illegitimate, or to regulate the valid but not immediate. Beware the tyranny of the urgent.

2.  Have a Think Tank


Have a special time with God once a month to think through your life. This will enable you to:

  • evaluate your current time use

  • adjust priorities

  • re-evaluate immediate and

  • help to ‘recharge the batteries’ of medium goals

  • reveal leaks that can be plugged

  • take the time to read something to heighten sensitivity to the Spirit

  • do some non-immediate creative thinking


These planned think tanks will be greatly contested by the enemy. Guard them with your life! Here is a good formula to use during these times:

  • Why an I doing what I am doing?

  • Where will I get if I go on as I am going?

  • What am I hoping to achieve?

  • What needs to change?

  • When will the change commence?

  • Who will help?


3.  Capitalise on Your Strengths
  • Recognise and operate within the framework of your gifts.

  • Put the most important tasks in the time slots when you are at peak performance.

  • Let stress take you to maximum efficiency, but avoid over-stress because that is when you lose efficiency.

  • Set realistic deadlines and let them stimulate you.

  • Ask the Lord to help you recognise people’s potential and delegate to them whenever possible.

  • Build in recreation slots. If necessary put them in your diary, especially family times. Then you can say you have a previous commitment.

  • Mould your life round spiritual principles.


4.  Avoid Traps That Waste Your Time
  • The work trap. You can be just as intemperate with work as alcoholics are with drink.

  • Negative thinkers and ‘drainers’. Drainers are people who like to have your special attention and drain you of energy to very little purpose.

  • Perfectionism. It is good to have high standards but impossible ones will drain you.


5.  Consider Your Lifestyle

If you have a reactive lifestyle replace it with a planned one.

Reactive Lifestyle

Plans very little. Does not think ahead.

Waits till things happen and reacts emotionally.

Develops short-term solutions.

Takes pride in being a trouble shooter.

Moves from crisis to crisis.

Planned Lifestyle

Anticipates needs, problems, outcomes.

Thinks ahead and has a strategy.

Plans a critical path to achieving.

Sees problems before they happen and seeks wise counsel.

Stewart Dinnen was formerly the Principal of the WEC Missionary Training College of Tasmania and International Leader for WEC International. He is currently Ambassador-at-large for this organisation.

© Stewart Dinnen (1 July 1990)

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