Wouldn’t it be nice if you could buy a little more time? If you could, how much would you be willing to pay for a few extra hours a day? What would you do with those two extra hours? Would you finally start doing that one thing you keep saying you need to do, but just don’t have time for?
In reality you can’t buy more time. You only have 168 hours a week like everyone else, and that’s all. But what if I told you that you could redeem, or pay back some of those hours and finally start doing the things in life that really matter the most? The good news is you can and here’s how.
Ephesians 5:15-17 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
The phrase “making the best use of” is translated from the Greek word ἐξαγοράζω which means to “redeem” or “purchase”. Through planning your time, you can actually redeem it or buy it back for things that really matter the most.
To start redeeming your time, you first need to see your time divided into three imaginary boxes.
Box A: The Important. These are the things that matter the most, yet you are most likely to skip.
This box includes things such as your relationships (God, family, friends), your health (exercise, sleep), and your own personal growth (time to learn, think, plan, and grow).
These are the things that matter most and have the most long term impact over your life, yet they are also the easiest to compromise or neglect. These things are also hard to maintain and require resolve, discipline, and determination; yet the benefits of doing them far out weigh the effort.
So why do these things often get skipped? It’s because they have very low visibility or accountability. For instance, if you miss your quiet time or skip date night with your wife, who’s really gonna know (besides her)?
Box B: The Urgent. These are the things you have to do, because skipping them would get you fired.
This box includes things like work, chores, to-do list, etc. We hardly ever forget to do these, because if we do, someone will find out.
Box C: The Easy. These are the unimportant things, that somehow you always find time to do.
This box includes things like TV, social media, internet, news, sports, hobbies. etc. Like box A these have low accountability, but they are different from box A in that they are easy, rather than hard. Because they are easy, you find yourself wasting hours on them, swiping your thumb on your phone or the remote.
Redeem Your Time.
Now that you have seen these three boxes of time that make up your life, the question is how will you plan to make sure you are doing the important things in box A that are really going to matter to you on day when you look back over your life.
Take a few minutes and begin planning ways to redeem the time you waste in the EASY Box that you could redeem and use for the IMPORTANT Box.
The truth is, if you don’t plan for the IMPORTANT (Box A), the important will get skipped for the URGENT (Box B) and the EASY (Box C).
6 Tips for redeeming your time for what matters most.
- Do the most important thing first, which is spending time with God. If you’re a Christian, you would probably agree that spending time with God is the most important thing you can do each day, yet how many days go by without opening your Bible? Here is the solution; if you spend time with God before you do anything else, you will never miss spending time with God. Period.
- Plan the important, and evaluate the plan. Doing the important things in life will not happen by accident, but through planning and evaluation. So don’t just say you need to spend more time with your spouse; instead, make a plan to spend one hour a day sitting and talking with them. Plan a date night once a month and a get-a-away trip every 3 months. Put them on your calendar and guard them with your life. Don’t just say you will, actually make a plan and do it.
- Develop Impactful Routines. Maybe one routine could be reading the Bible to your kids every night before they go to bed. Develop this routine and before long, if you forget to read, your kids will remind you that you haven’t, because it has become a routine.
- Keep a close eye on your time wasters. Notice this week all the things that cause you to waste time. Take for example the amount of time you waste looking at the phone you’re probably holding right now while reading this blog (if your not, I’m sure it’s close by). Identify your time wasters and keep them in check. Maybe put your phone in a basket at 9:00pm and look into the eyes of your spouse, instead of everyone else through a screen.
- Turn time wasters into memory makers. Maybe you like wasting time hiking through the woods or going camping. Why not take the kids along and make it a family hike or a family camping trip? If you love to hunt, take the kids scouting or let them join you in the ground blind. And yes, they might scare off that big buck, but in 10 years that memory will be worth more than the mount holding hats in your closet.
- Get accountability. The game changer for me was accountability. We often let the important things slip because no one is watching. You can fix that through accountability. Mine is simple. I wake up every morning earlier than I have to in order to get into God’s Word and spend time with Him. Then I send an email to three guys telling them what God showed me, and they do the same for me. This means if I don’t get up and get in the Word, I have three guys asking me why I didn’t. So, I hardly ever skip.
At the end of your life you will have a lot of regrets about time you spent on the urgent and easy, but you will have zero regrets about the time you spent on the important. Make the best use of your time, for the days are evil, and if you don’t make a plan for the important, the urgent and easy will win out every time.
So stop wasting time, and instead start redeeming it.