One thing which has been immensely helpful to me is to recognize the need to first ascertain my values before setting goals to carry them out. Over the years, I have endeavored to use many time management tools to get a better handle on my time. These various plans helped you to develop lists and learn how to keep a calendar. But I would usually find that these plans were only partially helpful. Why? The reason is that I had not first taken the time to discover what my values were. Before I can have a meaningful plan for knowing how to budget my time, I must first discern what God is calling me to be and do. Then, I will be able to discern what my goals should be and how to schedule my time to achieve them.
For example, one of my values is to be a godly husband who nurtures my wife regularly. That value needs to be reflected in meaningful goals to achieve that. For me, that means (among many things) achieving that by having the goal of a weekly date night each week of the year. So that value (of being a nurturing husband) is reflected in a goal (of a weekly date night). Finally, I put that date night on the calendar so that my calendar reflects my values and goals. And that is the key to goal setting and time management; we must first take the time to come to terms with our values.
For a believer, values are shaped by understanding who God has called us to be and what he has called us to do. For example, one of my values is to be an in-depth Bible teacher, making Jesus come alive in the written Word. For me, that is not just a nice idea—it is a God-calling on my life. To achieve that calling, I must have reasonable goals of studying the Word. In fact, it gets even more specific; I must master key books of Scripture in order to achieve my values. For 2018, that means studying the book of Hebrews so as to be able to teach it to others. By the way, I feel prompted by the Spirit to take up the letter to the Hebrews; I didn’t simply decide that on my own.
If you look at my goals for the new year, reading and studying the book of Hebrews is one of them. So what will you find me doing several mornings each week? Studying and meditating on the book of Hebrews so as to achieve my goals. But what fuels this goal is my value of feeling called by God to make Jesus come alive in the written Word. Without that value, I might try to set various goals, but they wouldn’t be empowered by first discovering what my values are (the things God has called me to be and do).
Another value I have is personally passing on the rich theology of God’s Word to men who are called to leadership. That is carried out by the goal of meeting regularly each week with various men in our congregation. And if you look at my calendar for this year, you will see regular appointments with men for that very purpose.
To review, it is first essential that you define what the values are that are driving your life. Who and what has God called you to be? Take the time needed to carefully define these values, for your goals and calendar decisions need to be linked to your values; the things you believe God has called you to be and do.