Set Realistic Time Goals

Set Realistic Time Goals

You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. . . . You ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
—James 4:14–15

If you want to live without regrets about how you use your time, then be realistic in your time-management goals. People often get motivated and say, “I am going to be disciplined about my time. No more wasting time.” So they say, “I’m going to write my first book by next month.” Or, “I’ll never watch television again.” Well, those things are unrealistic. Good time management involves setting realistic goals. Your time-management program needs to make room for three things.

First of all, your schedule needs to allow time for relaxation. God never intended for any of us to work 24/7. God said, “Six days you shall labor . . . but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:9–10 NASB). That word “sabbath” means to cease from work. The Sabbath is a day you quit working. Our bodies cannot be like a stretched rubber band that remains in tension forever. We need to have a finish line at the end of every week where we say, “I am through with the week and will obey the principle of God’s Sabbath.”

Second, your schedule needs to allow for bad days. We all have bad days; they are a part of life. You can use bad days for other things. Sometimes a bad day comes unexpectedly, but there are times you can expect bad days. For example, the day after your vacation is probably going to be a bad day. Other times, such as the day after Christmas, you know aren’t going to be the most productive days. So you can anticipate some of your bad days and plan accordingly.

Third, your time-management schedule needs to allow for interruptions, such as an unexpected phone call or an emergency. When those things happen, we have to trust the sovereignty of God. You know, some of Jesus’ most famous miracles and most important discourses were interruptions. He was on His way to do something when He was interrupted by someone with a pressing need. James 4:13–15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” (NASB). James is not saying there is anything wrong with having a schedule or making a plan. But he is saying that as you set realistic time goals, remember they are subject to the sovereignty of God.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Living without Time Regrets” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.