Monday, December 15, 2008

Wise Use of Time

When I was a newly-married BYU student, I had a written assignment due in one of my classes. I’d refused to use a computer because I felt comfortable with my electric typewriter and I understood the typewriter. After much persistence, my husband convinced me to use a computer for my papers. I agreed and started working on this written assignment that counted heavily for my grade. Unfortunately, while in college I hadn’t developed a good planning schedule and I was trying to complete this paper the night before it was due.

As I neared the end of my paper, I looked forward to seeing how the computer could help me write a better paper by allowing me to edit right on the screen and use some strange new contraption called the spell checker. I decided to grab a quick drink of water before I finished the last page. I walked back to the computer, across the carpet, and touched the keyboard. Zap. Everything on the computer went dark. Yep, I’d shocked it and in the process lost all of my work. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. The hour was late and as I stared at the black screen, it was too much for me. I went to bed resigned to the fact I’d receive an F and possibly have to take the class over again. I was in a crisis situation.

(The rest of the story: when I awoke the next morning, I found my paper typed up and ready for me to turn in. My sweet husband sacrificed his entire night to finish my paper).

Many times, we can avoid such crisis situations if we plan ahead and use our time wisely.

1. Prioritize. We need to determine what things are most important and which need to be accomplished first. I like to use the list method to write down everything I need to do and then accomplish my most important tasks, like reading my scriptures, first.

2. Eliminate. Some activities or things that take up our time may not be worth our time. We need to eliminate those things. When I was a kid, my grandfather was retired and he watched soap operas every day. I watched them with him and continued to watch them even after I was married. One day, it hit me. I could be spending that time doing something much more worthwhile.

3. Improve Habits. If we can make our work and study time more effective and useful we can accomplish more each day. I’m always amazed when one of my kids can take an entire afternoon to clean his or her room when it should’ve only taken an hour.

4. Realize Limitations. There’s only so much time in a day and we only have so much energy. We need to realize that we have limitations and only commit to that which we can realistically do.

We need to be careful to not overschedule ourselves. In Mosiah 4:27 we’re admonished, “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in orfer.”

When we are stretched beyond our capacity, we often neglect the most important aspects of our lives such as reading and pondering the scriptures, family home evening, praying, or spending time with our families.

It’s important that we take time each day to relax and enjoy our kids, read a good book, exercise, scrapbook, or participate in other uplifting wholesome activities that provide us with peace.

We all only have 24 hours a day. Some of us make better use of that time than others. At some point, we will be held accountable for how we use our time. If we use it wisely, not only will we be able to avoid most crisis situations, we will also accomplish more and waste less time.

Return to the neighborhood.

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Josi said...

This is great advice, Rebecca. It seems this time of year I need the reminder :-)

Erin said...

Thank you for that list of ways to avoid crisis. I think we all need it! :)