Effective time management

Getting through a to-do list is often easier said than done. But when we prioritize listening for God’s inspiration, even in those moments when we’re overwhelmed, we’re empowered to do what we need to do, when we need to do it.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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When we have a lot to do, how do we make sure we are accomplishing the right task at the right time? Sometimes we may feel pressure to do too much, while at other times we are idle or unproductive. So how do we find the balance that keeps our days flowing harmoniously?

That’s what I was asking myself soon after my family moved across the country to a rural area. We had lots of unpacking to do, a little child to care for, and no one around to babysit or help us make a dent in the tasks at hand. In addition, my husband had been offered a weeklong opportunity to work at a summer camp a few hours away, and we needed to leave before these other things were finished.

Upon our arrival at the camp, I found it hard not to think about all the tasks that were waiting for us back home. It felt overwhelming. So I turned to the Bible, which I have found to be such a great resource for inspiration on many topics, including time management.

In particular, Christ Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount gives specific guidance. He said: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ... For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33, New King James Version).

Jesus clearly understood that we all have human needs, but promised that making God, rather than our to-do list, our priority would result in our needs being met. Even when we have a lot to do for work, school, or our family, we can acknowledge our oneness with Spirit, God, who created us in the image of the Divine. As the spiritual reflection of God, limitless good, we already have all we need. When we keep this spiritual reality in mind and are receptive to God’s inspiration, we are guided to do the right thing at the right time in the right place – harmoniously.

So I decided to spend the week focusing on spiritual growth and study. This was a very enriching time. I enjoyed spending a couple of hours each day exploring the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. From this I learned more about God and our relation to God as the spiritual expression of His love, joy, and harmony. I felt a deeply settled peace.

When we returned home, I no longer felt the pressure I had before. We found opportunities to unpack a few boxes during our son’s naps or playtime and to tackle a few more in the evening. There was a rhythm to our work that felt peaceful and natural. And after just a couple of days, all of our items were unpacked and we were settled into our new home. All of the pieces had fallen into place more perfectly than I could have imagined. Best of all was the feeling of peace and harmony that stayed with us.

Now, whenever I find myself pressed for time, I remind myself to pause, be mentally still, and listen for God’s guidance. This brings assurance that God is with me and a tangible sense of the presence of God’s goodness, which counteracts the pressures of time. This spiritual outlook has enabled me to experience more of God’s harmony in life, preventing me from making unwise financial decisions and keeping me from pushing my way forward in unhelpful directions.

You could say Jesus lived in the “eternal now,” always conscious of the kingdom of God and his eternal oneness with God. We don’t have any record of him feeling stressed by time or rushing around. His total awareness of the supremacy of divine Spirit enabled him to overcome matter- and time-based limitations.

Each of us, as we go forward, can strive to keep our thoughts filled with the inspiration and grace that Christ Jesus so embodied and that bring more harmony to our daily experience.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.