A key to success and lasting fulfilment and happiness is not to prioritise your schedule and to do list but to schedule your priorities.
Because let’s face it, how often can we find ourselves “so busy making a living we forget to make a life”?
There always seems to be a lot going on, and we can end up feeling that there is not enough time to do it. This is why if we don’t purposely plan and schedule time for what’s really important in our lives, it often just doesn’t happen.
Jesus, however, gave some great advice on how to make life work best. He said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). He said to make our focus about, “Seeking first the kingdom of God. Then all the other things the world says are important will be added to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Here are 5 Steps to help you prioritise your schedule so you can focus on what is important in your life rather than just what is urgent.
1. Acknowledge the fact that you can’t do everything.
We can only do so much. We have to make important decisions to eliminate some things. We have to choose to remove the clutter from our schedules.
Clutter is the stuff that interferes with the life God planned for us to live. It slows us down from doing the things we value most. Clutter can be activity, mindsets, habits (I’ve always done this”) etc.
Ask yourself why am I doing this?
Did God ask me to? Can I use my time better?
2. Clarify what’s most important…to you!
The important things to you will affect your decisions and how you spend your days. Don’t rush into things; take some time and ask God for the “blueprint” of your aims and plans. What is important?
Ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be? What relationships are most important to me? What do I want to accomplish?
“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.…” (Ephesians 5:16)
3. Determine what you must do to live for those things.
Once you’ve identified what’s meaningful, you can begin to think about how you’ll get there.
Ask God to give you wisdom and clarity on how to map out a route to your destination. Figure out the best way to be and do what you want to be and do. If we don’t, we risk wandering through life, wishing it could be different but never living the life we long for.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
4. Learn to say no! We all have to make choices about how we spend our time. We will have to say “no” to some things so we can say “yes” to others. Schedule and do the important and not the urgent.
5. Find what motivates you and use it.
Think about what inspires you. What makes you come alive? What reminds you of the things you value most?
Schedule and spend your time doing things and being with those you love. If you don’t know what you like doing, or you are in a bit of a “rut”, take a day regularly to try something new until you find out.
Don’t allow things of lesser importance or a schedule that is “full” but lacks meaning to rob you of the life God wants you to live.
Our priority is to seek God first and foremost, then everything else will make sense, our relationships will be richer and the right ones for us, and what we spend our days doing will be purposeful and fulfilling.
Begin today to give God control of your schedule and fill your day with the things He says to spend your time on. Then fit everything else around what is actually important rather than the urgent. As you do, you will gradually find yourself becoming the kind of person you want to be.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
Prayer: Lord, please help me to measure my days and to live a life filled with meaning and purpose. I ask for wisdom to prioritise so that what is important, rather than what looks urgent, will be first on my schedule today. In Jesus’ name Amen