Understanding how to have more balance in your life while juggling work can be just that: a juggling act. Now add in your desire to remain in good faith on top of everything that is going on in our chaotic world, and it begins to feel like a struggle. One of the things that many Christians complain about is their struggle to stay on-top of the hectic workplace while giving due importance to their religious activities–The things that reduce stress and frustration.
I believe that all the advancement in technology to make us more effective has also opened us up to several office distractions. Discussions with Human Resource managers reveals that technology remains one of the top 10 distractions in the work place.
Unfortunately for the Christian in the workplace, the plea of increasing workplace demands and the distractions from technology do not present a reason to be ineffective in the workplace and negligent of our religious activities. The word of God still exhorts us in all, to do heartily as to the Lord and not to men.
While talking to one of my friends who was disturbed from his failing to find quiet time with the Lord, I advised him to try being more unwavering in his approach to time management. The effort to have quiet time with the Lord at 3:00 am has to start from the moment he wakes up the prior day. That’s right, you have to plan for it. Having a goal for quiet time with the Lord will inform the activities of an entire day. It will inform how he approaches his work, and a satisfactory quiet time with the Lord requires a well-rested body. So does his day job.
Effective planning has two key functions of prioritization and time management. I have found great tools for both of these in Stephen Covey.
Stephen Covey’s time management quadrant reveals that we spend most of our work life focused on the Urgent/Important activities (Q1) and the Urgent/Unimportant activities (Q3). The best place to be is Important/Not Urgent (Q2). However it is a real effort, especially in the face of so many distractions.
In my own work life, I found that the ignored Q2 actions will always show up on the Q1 quadrant and I needed to proactively make time to attend to them. I also found that technology spewed distractions into my way in droves coming from emails, social networks, chatrooms, etc. In order to be effective, I have to shut out all these distractions in my peak performance hours, leaving them until my down time.
In prioritizing my day, again learning from Covey, I have learned not to plan more than one key action per day and radically focus on it until completed, unless swayed by something outside my control. Also, experience has taught that it is necessary to plan for distractions and interruptions!
Jesus spoke about the importance of planning to ensure we achieve the goals we desire, when he questioned: Which king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
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