Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. [from Ephesians 5]
I read a fair amount in books about leadership and management. They have much to say about making the most of our time. You know the lists:
- Avoid time wasters.
- Limit meeting length by designing a tight agenda.
- Balance face time, phone time, desk time.
- Develop your speed and efficiency.
All good advice. But it only goes as far as it goes. I am one of those people who has to be constantly reminded that efficiency isn’t always the most important thing. Making the most of my time doesn’t necessarily mean being able to check lots of things off my list. Sure, my work has to be done. But is being overrun (controlled) by tasks really making the most of our time?
Three days ago I’d thought I’d spend the evening in front of my computer, catching up on some things that would make the next day go a little smoother, my lists a little shorter. But my husband suggested canoeing with friends. We took our canoes to the river and just paddled for a couple of hours. The fresh air, the exercise, the wildlife, the water, the conversation, the friendship, all conspired to make me realize, once again, that I’m a terribly slow learner when it comes to rest and sabbath.
The next day at work, I realized about halfway through the morning that I was more focused, more relaxed, more productive, and just plain happier.
When the apostle writes that “the days are evil,” I take that to mean that day upon day upon day can be evil if we don’t redeem the time. Sameness, boredom, work, heaviness, laboriousness. We redeem the time by filling it with things that give life to us and the people around us. Yes, sometimes that involves being efficient.
But I’m also reminded that making the most of our time often means an efficiency of the spirit, which might be a far notion from checking off lists.
How will you make the most of your time today?
I’m planning to eat supper on the porch.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2012