5 Changes To Instantly Save Money

Inflation has slowed to 7.1%. Still, Moody’s Analytics estimates that the average family spent $396 more per month this fall than they did in 2021 for the same goods and services. The Census Bureau calculated the median household income at the end of 2021 as $69,021. The average worker received a raise of 4.8% in 2022. For a family earning $69,021, the raise was $3,313 for the year, or $276 a month. That translates to a take-home increase of about $201. After paying $28 tithe on the extra salary, they have an extra $173 per month. That’s a nice sum, but it falls $223 short of the average increase in monthly costs.

If you are in this situation, now is the time to rework your budget and try to cut $223 from your normally re-occurring expenses. If you manage your money well and live below your means, you likely have some room in your budget. However, it is still important to examine your expenses and make cuts where you can.

Here is a plan to cut on spending without feeling deprived.

  1. Cut back on technology expenses. Most home today have an internet and cable television plan, in addition to a cell phone plan, and perhaps a landline telephone. The average household spends $116 on internet and cable and another $114 on cell phones, and many spend much more than that. This is a good time to research your options and see if you can find a more economical plan. Tom’s Guide offers an analysis of the best cell phone plans for 2023 to help you make a wise decision (https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-family-cell-phone-plan, and cabletv.com has analyzed the best home internet plans (https://www.cabletv.com/blog/best-cheap-internet-packages). Let’s assume for this example that you are able to reduce your technology expenses to $170 per month, saving $60.
  2. Reduce streaming services. Two-thirds of all American households subscribe to Netflix, sixty percent to Amazon Prime, and nearly half to Hulu and Disney+. The cost of these plans is about $42 per month, plus the costs of any movie rentals that are not covered by a plan. When you are researching cable television packages, try to find one that includes free movies that you enjoy. If you do so, you can cancel these subscriptions and save $42 per month. Even if you don’t find a plan with free movies, you can cancel two or three of these subscriptions and save up to $27 a month.
  3. Reduce food waste. RTS (Recycle Track System) estimates that the average household wastes $1,866 in food each year. That’s more than $155 per month. The biggest culprit is produce which goes bad. Meat and dairy products are also highly perishable. Reduce food waste by planning meals before you shop and making a point to use perishable food items in a timely manner. We will assume, that with some effort, you can reduce food waste by $80 per month.
  4. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Estimates are that the average household could save $15 per month by unplugging the coffee pot and other kitchen appliances when not in use.
  5. Reduce money spent eating out. Fast food prices jumped about 15% in 2022. The average lunch out now cost more than $11 for one person, while a sit-down lunch will run closer to $20 with tip. If you cut out two fast-food lunches and one sit-down lunch per month, you will save $42 per month.

These five changes will save you enough money to make up for the loss of purchasing power from inflation. If you find that you need, or want, to reduce your spending more, coffee and beverages on the go are another source of potential savings. A large soda or a cup of regular coffee at a drive-up restaurant will cost you $2 or more, while a specialty beverage could cost you $4 – $6. If you buy one beverage each workday, you are spending between $44 and $132 per month. This amount could be significantly reduced by brewing coffee at home and buying other beverages at the grocery store.

God expects us to be faithful stewards of the financial resources He entrusts to us. Money allows us to meet the needs of our families and bless others. However, it can be a cause of great stress if it is not managed properly. Prayerfully ask God to help you budget and manage your money, and rely on Him to meet all your needs.

To learn more about how to honor God with your money and build treasure in Heaven, please click the Finances categories tab to find many blogs on money management, budgeting, and stewardship. My book Honoring God with Your Money is a great tool for financial money management. Click here to sign up for my quarterly newsletter on managing your money: newsletter signup

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you may not understand what it means to rely on God to meet your needs. Please click on Basics of Salvation in the tool bar above to learn how you can accept the wonderful free gift of salvation.

Tips for Good Time Stewardship

Christmas is a few days away, and 2023 is just around the corner. As you consider changes you will endeavor to make in the new year, make a plan to be a better steward of your time. Managing your time well will relieve stress and provide you with more time for God, your family, yourself, and activities your really enjoy.

The tips below are designed to help you become a better steward time. They are modified from suggestions given by Emilie Barnes in her book, “Keep It Simple for Busy Women.” Emilie has gone on to her heavenly reward now, but her tips for organization and time management are still timely.

Tip 1: Avoid trying to do too much. Make a to-do list for each day. Prioritize the items on your to-do and do those that are truly necessary. Some things may not get done, and some may be postponed. Prioritizing will help to ensure that the important tasks are the ones which get done.

Person holding a note pad and pen, writing a to-do list.
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Tip 2: Make a plan and stick to it. The plan should align with the priorities you set in above. And be prepared that plans often go awry. By having a plan, however, you will be able to get back on track. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Tip 3: Do not put off the things that you must do. Some things simply must get done, and it is often the best plan of action is to tackle those things early in your day. It will give you a sense of accomplish and will remove that burden from your list.

Tip 4: Say “No.” You can not do everything you are asked to do. Prayerfully consider whether the task you are being asked to take on is something the Lord wants you to do. If it is not, then He has someone else prepared to do the task. When we try to do tasks that are not ours to do, we deny someone else the blessing of serving in that role.

Tip 5: Delegate. Delegation applies to work and to home. If you are a supervisor, you need to empower your employees to handle some tasks on their own. In your home, divide up tasks with your spouse, and begin training your children to be responsible for some age-appropriate tasks. Emilie is quick to point out that when you delegate, things may not get done exactly as you would like. Restrain from re-doing the tasks or criticizing. Learn to let go and compliment what got done well.

Start each day in God’s word and ask Him to direct your footsteps. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Open Bilbe on a breakfast table.
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If you have never considered that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, you may not have experienced the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior and having your sins forgiven. Please click on Basics of Salvation in the tool bar above to learn how you can invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

For information about my novels and my Bible study, Honoring God with Your Money, see https://smile.amazon.com/stores/Susan-Elizabeth-Ball/author/B0047P60V2?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Accomplish More for God

Do you struggle to accomplish all that you need to do? Or hoped to do? Or feel God calling you to do? I certainly do at times. I often feel overwhelmed by the length of my to-do list.

Yet, in the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” This tells me that there is time to do everything that God has called us to do. God commands us to take care of our families, to do our jobs well for our employers, and to serve Him as He empowers us. He describes this service as both ministering inside the church (1 Corinthians 12:27-31) and outside the church (Matthew 25:31-44).

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If your life feels demanding already, it can be daunting when you feel the call to serve your family, your church, or your community in a new way. It is important to pray and examine your heart to ensure that you have heard from God about this new role that you are considering. Once you are certain that this is a role God is calling you to fulfill, you need to prayerfully consider how to “find” the time to fulfill this obligation.

  1. Start your day with God’s Word. Reading God’s word each morning will get your day off to a great start. It will also help you to focus on God’s voice and be attuned to what He has for you to do today.
  2. Ask God to help you identify the time-wasters in your life. Are you spending too much time on social media? Playing solitaire or video games? Watching sports? Solving crosswords or sudoku puzzles? None of these activities are wrong or bad for you. But, they have a way of consuming more time than we realize. I love to solve all kinds of puzzles–jigsaw, word puzzles, brain teasers. They are fun and good exercise for the brain. However, I can easily spend one or two hours a day on these activities.
  3. Ask God to multiply your time. As God multiplied a few loaves and fishes to feed 5,000 people, He can multiple your time so that you accomplish more than you expected. God may answer by of allowing you to complete tasks more quickly than anticipated, having someone volunteer to do some tasks for you, or giving your favor as you drive so that you do not spend a lot of time stuck in traffic or hunting for a parking space.
  4. Examine the volunteer roles you hold now and pray about whether it is time to let one or more go. Last year, I stepped down from a leadership role I had held for many years. It was hard to step away, but I knew that it was time. God has put another person in that role who is doing exciting new things with that ministry. The ministry is growing, and I am excited to see how God blesses this ministry under her leadership.
  5. Develop good habits that help you stay focused and on track. These good habits include starting the day in God’s Word and prayer. They might also include (1) checking email only a few times a day at prescribed times, (2) making a list of tasks to be accomplished each day, (3) adding routine tasks to your schedule or work calendar as reminders, and (4) setting a time limit on how much time you spend in activities such as television, social media, and games.

Jesus told his disciples, ““The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2) If you area a child of God, you are a laborer that He is sending out to bring in the harvest. Don’t allow busyness to deter you from answering the Lord’s call.

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If you have never considered that God loves you and created you for a purpose, you may not have experienced the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior and having your sins forgiven. Please click on Basics of Salvation in the tool bar above to learn how you can invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

Stewardship that honors God involves managing all of the resources He entrusts to us, including our time and our money. To learn more about stewardship of financial resources, please click the Finances categories tab to find many blogs on money management, budgeting, and stewardship. My book Honoring God with Your Money is a great tool for financial money management.

Serving for God’s Glory

We live in a challenging time.  Concern about coronavirus and new health issues, such as monkeypox, is high.  Inflation is skyrocketing, social issues are dividing our country, violence and drug use at rampant, and people are concerned about their futures. Yet, in the midst of all the strife and chaos, it is possible to have peace in your hearts and live a life full of purpose.

Woman gripping her hands to her head, as she tries to deal with the stress of life.
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My sense of peace and purpose come from my relationship with Jesus Christ. As I seek Him and turn to Him in my times of trouble, the Holy Spirit fills me with “the peace that passes understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)  I, in turn, have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ with those around me.

Woman at peace on a beach at sunrise.  She is lifting her hands, as if in praise for the new day.
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Jesus calls His followers to be faithful stewards of that which he has entrusted to us.  Faithful stewardship demands that I view all that I have as belonging to God.  The resources that I have been given to me by God and are to be used according to His wishes. 

Knowing how God wants to me to use those resources requires that I read God’s Word and spend time in prayer. As I do, God will reveal to me His plans and purpose for my life.  We know from God’s Word that He intends for us to share our resources with those who are less fortunate than us.  So, we give to charitable organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse.

Today, we need to do more than make donations and let someone else take care of the poor and needy. We each must earnestly seek God and His direction.

In the book of 1 Peter 4:7-11, we read about how we can be faithful stewards.  This passage is from The Message:

“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!”

People preparing boxes of food and medicine to share with those in need.
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Give cheerfully and generously.  Speak God’s words.  Help in the way God directs you.

Be a faithful steward who calls attention to the Lord.  Point people to Jesus.

Only through the blood of Jesus Christ can the world find the peace we so loudly claim to desire.

And do all for the glory of God.

Money Won’t Buy You More Time

As I read Psalm 49 this week, it brought to mind the lyrics of Dust in the Wind, “Now don’t hang on. Nothing last forever but the earth and sky, It slips away and all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Psalm 49: 6 – 9 expresses a similar sentiment this way, “Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,  None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him— For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit.”

There is great truth in both the Psalm and the lyrics by Kansas. Money cannot buy us a longer life or a future in Heaven. Only faith in the blood of Jesus Christ can provide assurance of eternal life.

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Another stanza of Dust in the Wind goes like this, ” Same old song. Just a drop of water in an endless sea. All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see.”

If you live seeking riches, power, and pleasure, then your works will be futile and meaningless, as expressed above by Kansas or in Psalm 49:10, “Life the fool and the senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” The psalm continues, “For when he dies, he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him.” (Psalm 49:16)

If you want your life to have meaning after you are gone, you need to live a life of selflessness and trust in God. Put your faith in Jesus Christ, serve your fellow man, give money to those who are less fortunate, and spend your money as God leads you. Then you will build eternal treasure in Heaven. No, you cannot take your wealth with you, but as Randy Alcorn says, you can send it on ahead of you.

Are you living a life that pleases God and will secure you a place in Heaven? If you are not, you should make it a priority to give your heart to Jesus. Not only will you have the promise of eternal life, you will have a more fulfilling life on earth. Please click on Basics of Salvation in the tool bar above to learn how you can invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

To learn more about how to honor God with your money and build treasure in Heaven, please click the Finances categories tab to find many blogs on money management, budgeting, and stewardship. My book Honoring God with Your Money is a great tool for financial money management.

Time Management, Creativity, and REM Sleep

I have a good friend, Johnnie, who has expertise in many subjects, including time management. Time management is essential for Johnnie, as she balances family time, church service, and volunteering with SCORE with the four businesses she currently owns and manages. She also manages to include exercise, prayer, and devotional time into each day.

Earlier this week, I asked Johnnie how she plans her days and if she devoted some time each day to each business or if she focused on different businesses on different days of the week. This lead to Johnnie sharing some her time management tools. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned the importance of being quiet and still for a few minutes upon waking to continue in the creative sphere of REM sleep. I had never before considered that sleep had an impact on creativity, although I read studies that demonstrated that long period of quiet are a boost to creativity.

Coffee, note pad, and flowers
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Despite this being a new concept to me, I immediately recognized the truth of Johnnie’s statement from my own experiences and those of my husband, Steve.

Steve is a civil engineer. He deals with complex issues in designing sites for buildings and subdivisions and coming up with a good solution is often challenging. He is prone to wake up in the early hours of the morning with a solution having come to his mind. It is not uncommon for him to rise at 4 or 5 am to work on a plan. I believe that these solutions arise from the creative state the brain enters during REM sleep.

Personally, I have found that I if I can stay in bed and be still for a few minutes after waking that I will have a creative spurt. Suddenly, I am inspired with ideas for the next scene for a novel I am working on or a blog post to write.

If you want to increase your creativity, I encourage you to spend some time in the morning being quiet. Let your creative mind continue to work after sleeping, and listen for the still, small voice of the Lord speaking into your life.

Some of Johnnie’s other time management tips included (1) start the day with worship–she exercises to praise music, (2) schedule a time of prayer at the beginning of each day, (3) set aside one or two days a week to be less busy and more focused on projects that require concentration and/or creativity, (4) turn off your phone and ignore email for blocks of time each day, and (5) schedule most meetings on one or two days a week.

Woman with journal and a cup of coffee
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Johnnie is the author of Legacy Moments–Transformation that goes Beyond Change. You can learn more about Johnnie and her coaching services at JohnnieLloyd.com

To learn more about how to be a faithful steward of your financial resources, please click the Finances categories tab to find many blogs on money management, budgeting, and stewardship. My book Honoring God with Your Money is a great tool for financial money management.

Being God’s Arms Extended

In our church, we often use the phrase “God’s arms extended.” We use this when speaking about reaching out into our community and sharing God’s love through service, ministry, and prayer.

To my knowledge, the phrase “God’s arms extended” does not appear in the Bible. However, Jesus expressed the importance of doing this in Matthew 25: 31- 46. He was teaching His disciples about things that will happen when He returns to rule over the earth.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25: 31 – 34

Jesus explains that those who offered food and drink to the hungry and thirsty, extended hospitality to the stranger, clothed those in need, cared for the sick, and visited the imprisoned are the sheep. Those who failed to extend assistance and compassion are the goats. Those who cared for others will receive eternal life, and those who did not will receive eternal damnation.

We had a missionary, Mark, speak in our church on Sunday. He shared that early in his ministry in Africa, he had not learned enough of the language to preach and teach. For a time, Mark was limited to embracing children and engaging them in sports. He began to get discouraged that he could not do more. As he prayed, Mark said something along the lines of, “All I can do is hug the children.” In his spirit, Mark clearly heard the Lord say, “Thank you.”

Mark realized that when we, as God’s people, show love to others, we allow God to show love through us. As Mark hugged the children, he was allowing God to wrap His arms around these precious little ones. Mark was literally being God’s arms extended.

What a beautiful picture! God wants to provide for the hungry, thirsty, needy, sick, and imprisoned. And, He does provide through us.

The next time you see someone in need, afraid, or discouraged, I pray that this illustration will come to mind and that you will take the opportunity to be God’s arms extended.

Please feel free to share an instance in which you knew that God was using you to be His hands extended.

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Grocery Shopping Amid Empty Shelves and Rising Inflation

The government announced last week that the inflation rate for December 2021 was 7%.  This is the highest rate of inflation since 1982.  Two of the hardest hit sectors were energy and food.  MarketWatch reports that prices for eggs have increased more than 20%, beef and chicken prices are up 13 – 15%, and coffee is up 10%. 

To make matters worse, grocery prices are expected to rise another 5% in 2022.  The biggest increases are expected to be for steak, chicken, mayonnaise, eggs, cereal, and vegetables.

Additionally, grocery shelves are emptier than we are used to seeing them.  Inflation and shortage combine to make feeding your family more challenging than we are used to dealing with in America.  And it is wreaking havoc on family budgets.

To keep your budget in balance, you must (1) find ways to keep your grocery spending within your means or (2) cut expenses in other areas and allocate more money for groceries.

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So, I am offering these ideas to help you eat well and stay within your budget.

  1. Eliminate waste. Americans waste on average one pound of food per person per day.  To reduce your food waste:
    • Plan meals and shop using a list.
    • Check the vegetable bins in your refrigerator daily to assess what needs to be eaten and plan meals accordingly.
    • Keep a food log, so you know when you cooked each dish.  Check log to see what needs to be eaten first.
  2. Make the most of leftovers—turn leftovers into soups, casseroles, and sandwich fillings.
  3. Buy cheaper cuts of meat and cook in a crockpot or instapot to tenderize.
  4. Buy store brands. You may have to try multiple stores to find the brands you like best.
  5. Shop at multiple stores to get the best buys and find items that were out of stock at your usual store.  Plan trips, though, to save gas and time.
  6. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN—but be prepared with backup plans, as shortages are expected to continue.
  7. Plant a garden and grow some of your own produce.
  8. When you find a good price for produce, stock up and freeze or can the excess.
  9. Shop at Discount stores, such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and Dollar General.
  10. Buy less than perfect or ugly produce.  Prepare immediately or process to eat later.
  11. Purchase meat that is nearing its sell-by date and has been marked down. Cook immediately or freeze.
  12. Invest in food storage dishes to keep leftovers.
  13. Invest in a vacuum sealer to freeze uncooked meats and leftovers to be eaten later.
  14. Search Pinterest and other internet sites for new recipes using ingredients that you have on hand.
  15. Challenge yourself to come up with new recipes using items you have in your pantry.
  16. Ask God for wisdom to help you make wise shopping decisions.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

I hope that you will find some of these tips to be helpful as you navigate empty grocery shelves and higher food prices.

What grocery saving tips can you add to this list?

You will find additional information on creating budgets and managing your finances in many of my other blog posts by clicking on the Finances tab on the right. If you have money questions you would like me to answer, you may email me at susan.ball5@aol.com or write your question in the Comment section.  

Those who email me will be signed up to receive my free quarterly newsletter with money management tips, encouraging stories, and Scripture inspirations.  For those desiring a better understanding of Biblical principles of money management, I have written a book Honoring God with Your Money. It is available on Amazon and from Barnes and Noble.

Pepperonis as Quarters

Pepperoni Pizzas
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In a different phase of life, my husband and I bought a pizza franchise and opened a restaurant in the little town of Orange, VA.  Our good friend, and pizza mentor, Jerry told us that we should look at “pepperonis as quarters.”  An individual pepperoni probably costs a penny or less–I never did the math, but I got the point.  Wasting food costs me money, and small wastes add up quickly and take money out of my pocket.  Little things matter whether you are trying to make money in your business or trying to live within your means on a tight budget.

In my current job, I am a consultant in a small business development center.  I meet with people each week who would like to start businesses.  Many of these dreams will be derailed or postponed due to poor credit and/or lack of financial resources to get a business started.  Often these people have plenty of income, yet they have failed to live within their means.  Some of them have made big financial mistakes, such as buying a house that they cannot afford, but many are in trouble because they have failed to control small expenses.  They forget that lunches out and $4 cups of coffee can make a big dent in their budgets.

As a Christian, I am a steward of all that God has entrusted to me.  When someone mentions stewardship, money management is probably the first thought that comes to mind.  Stewardship, however, encompasses all phases of your life, including how you use your time and how you use your talents.  We can relate the “pepperonis as quarters”  adage to time and talents, as well as to money.  Saving a few moments here and there throughout your day can add up and allow you more time to play a game with your child, read a book for pleasure, relax with your spouse, or start a new project.  Honing your talents little by little can help you gain speed and proficiency.

I Corinthians 4:2 tells us, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”  I hope that this word will encourage you to look for small ways to be a better steward of your time, talent, and money.

Seven Tips for Better Stewardship of Time

Stewardship is the word that God impressed upon me to be my focus for 2021. For me, stewardship involves not only managing our money and financial resources well, but also using the talents God grants us and the time allotted to us in ways that honor Him.

Time stewardship is the most challenging of the three for me. I tend to function best when my to-do list is very long and my time to complete it is short.  When my to-do list is short, it is easy for me to find get distracted.  But the pressure of a long list and little time give me focus and energy. I love making a long list of tasks to be accomplished and then crossing items off as I complete them.

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So, why don’t I make a list each day? That is a question I ask myself regularly, and the only answer I have come up with is that I haven’t found the right tool that works for me.  But, list-making tools is not the subject of this blog.  Rather, this blog is about strategies that I have learned and am attempting to enact to be a better steward of my time, so that I can accomplish the goals God has put into my heart.

  1. Make a List.  Your list should include tasks to be completed today, this week, and over the new few weeks.  A strategy that I learned many years ago is to include some “routine” tasks that you already do at the start of every day, so that you can quickly cross something from your list. Time management experts recommend “Making the bed” or “Showering” as the first task on the list. Crossing off tasks gives you a sense of accomplishment and will help you to accomplish more with your time.
  2. Stack Habits.  This suggestion is from Mark Batterson’s book “Win the Day.”  Mark suggests developing good, daily habits by stacking tasks together routinely.  Develop a routine to help you start the day off right, and you will manage your day better. For me, I have stacked exercise with Bible reading.  When I discovered that I could read books on my kindle while pedaling my exercise bike, my mornings improved significantly.  This works best when I get out of bed, grab my kindle, and get on the bike.  I start the day with God’s word, and I get my blood flowing.  I wake up more fully, and the day goes better.
  3. Prioritize Tasks. It’s not enough to have a list. You have to take some time to consider what tasks must be done today? What tasks can be put off until tomorrow or next week?  If you don’t prioritize what needs to be done, you will end of being distracted by emails, phone calls, and tasks that appear urgent but are not critical to you having a successful day.  Ask God for wisdom to align your priorities with His.
  4. Minimize Distractions.  Set yourself up for success by being pro-activate in minimizing distractions.  Timothy Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” is a master of minimizing distractions to accomplish more in less time.  One key tip is to avoid checking emails and responding to texts and phone calls throughout the day.  Rather, Ferriss recommends checking emails and messages at a few pre-determined times a day. Evaluate what your primary distractions are and take steps to minimize them.  For those who work in an office, an open-door policy might be a major distraction.  Consider closing your door and putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door for periods of uninterrupted work.
  5. Schedule Down Time.  No one should be all work and no play, and no one should spend too much time playing and avoiding work. Everyone needs time to kick back and read a book, watch television, or go out for a leisurely dinner.  Plan these times in your schedule to ensure balance in your work and leisure time.
  6. Seek God’s Direction.  Start each day with time in God’s word.  Pray for wisdom, and listen for His direction.  God will show you what is important for you to accomplish each day to fulfill His will for your life.
  7. Ask God to Multiply Your Time. As God multiplied the fishes and the loaves, He can multiply your time.  When we seek God’s will and use our time according to His purposes, He will allow us to do more in less time.  When you need to get somewhere quickly, and all the traffic lights you encounter are green—that is God’s blessing on your time.  If you get in and out of an appointment much faster than you expected, that is also God’s blessing. Make a habit of recognizing God’s hand in allowing tasks to be accomplished quickly and smoothly, and thank Him for those blessings.

There are many other time-management strategies. Which ones are your using?  Please share your best tips in the Comments.

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