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.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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.

Blessings of a Long Marriage

Today, Steve and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary.  It sounds like a long time, but the years have flown by much more quickly than we could have imagined when we started this journey.  It really doesn’t seem possible that four decades have gone by since we stood before our family and friends and pledge to walk together through life until “death do us part.” 

This was a wedding gift. It has hung in our home for forty years. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing…” Proverbs 18:22

The years since we said our vows have been full, busy, and blessed.  We have had the joy to raise three amazing sons and watched them grow up and start families of their own. We are blessed with eight energetic and delightful grandchildren.

One of the greatest blessings is parenting and grandparenting together.  Nothing beats knowing that our union and our love has created this family.  The boys are our sons and their children are our grandchildren.

Another great source of joy is that we share the same memories.  The grandchildren love hearing stories of when their fathers were young.  Steve and I experienced these years together, and those memories become more precious as we share them with our grandchildren.

The Bible say, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22.    It is just as true that she who finds a husband finds a good thing and obtains favor.  Favor from the Lord has certainly come through children and grandchildren. But it has also come by having a godly partner as we journey through life. 

Steve and I have prayed together for wisdom on raising the boys and making important decisions.  We have supported one another during difficult times and taken grand adventures together.  We consult one another and the Lord about important life and financial decisions. God has blessed us financially, as we have tithed and stewarded the resources He has entrusted to us.  We have worked together and supported one another in our home life and our careers. This has allowed us to reap the benefits of being able to own a nice home, travel, and save for our retirement years.

Steve is my best friend and the person I trust most in the world.  He always has my best interest at heart and goes out of his way to make me feel loved and special.  These forty years have been an exciting journey, and I pray that this journey will continue for many more years and many more adventures.

Sneak Peak at Reconciliations

The following excerpt is from my second novel Reconciliations, published by Oak Tara in November 2011.  I hope you enjoy it. 

If you would like to read a longer sample, please email me at susan@susaneball.com.   Reconciliations is available on Amazon and Christian Book Distributors.

Josh took a deep breath. “If Christine were in trouble, would you help her?”

Kevin stopped chewing and swallowed hard. “Why would you ask something like that?”

“Just answer the question. Would you help her if she needed you?”

“If you mean financial trouble, no way. Absolutely not. I was more than generous with her in the divorce. If she can’t handle her money, that’s her problem.” Kevin had been blindsided when Christine left him. It had taken him a long time to get over the hurt, and he had no intention of allowing her to hurt him again. And he was certain she would, if he got involved in her life.

Josh shook his head. “No, I mean if she were in real trouble and had no one else to turn to. Suppose she was in a bad relationship with a creep who treated her bad. Would you help her get out of it?”

Josh had Kevin’s full attention now. “You’re not just supposing, are you?” Although Kevin tried desperately to sound nonchalant, he was dismayed by the concern he felt for Christine’s well-being. “You know something. What’s happening with Christine?”

“I saw her the other day.” Josh dropped his voice and scanned the restaurant, as if afraid someone might overhear them. Kevin recognized Josh’s mannerism—he acted like this whenever he was about to tell Kevin something he’d rather not have to say. “Lisa and I were shopping, and we ran into her. She was with a guy—Larry something or other. She said they’re living together.”

Kevin scowled. “Of course she is. Christine has always been able to find a man to take care of her, at least for a little while. Unfortunately she usually picks losers. He’s probably the next guy in a long line of losers.”

“She seemed skittish, like she was in a hurry to get away. And she kept tugging at her sleeve, pulling it down to make sure her forearm was covered. When she raised her hand to wave good-bye, her sleeve fell back, and I saw a large bruise on her arm.”

“Maybe she bumped into something. Christine’s clumsy. She was always banging into the dresser or the bed post and getting bruised.” Kevin didn’t think a little bruise was anything to be concerned about.

“No,” Josh shook his head adamantly. “It looked like someone, I assume Larry, had grabbed her hard. I saw impressions of fingers on her arm.”

Kevin was alarmed, but there was no way he was getting involved in Christine’s domestic problems. “Christine’s a big girl,” he said flatly. “She can take care of herself. If this guy isn’t treating her right, she can move out.”

“Yeah, I guess.” But Josh didn’t seem convinced. “Thought you should know. That’s all.”

“I appreciate your concern, but I’m sure Christine will be fine.”

Despite Kevin’s assertion that Christine was no longer part of his life and none of his concern, he couldn’t stop thinking about her. She’d hurt him deeply when she left him after he caught her with another man. His pain was increased when he learned she’d been involved with two other men during the final months of their eleven-year marriage. Since their breakup, Kevin had one serious girlfriend while Christine had, according to the rumors, gone from one bad relationship to another. She was showing her true colors, and Kevin told himself he was glad to be rid of her. Yet the thought of some guy manhandling her disturbed him more than a little.

Kevin knew Christine Miller was a wild child the moment he laid his eyes on her. That had been part of the attraction.