Adulting 101: Making Time for Your God-Given Talents
In our newest Adulting 101 topic, we're tackling a common issue a lot of teens (and yes, even adults) struggle with: productivity. Making time for the important things and forming healthy, productive habits. Keep reading because our guest author Phylicia has some great wisdom for us!
“I always over-schedule, procrastinate, or just simply have a hard time making time for everything in a day. How can I be more productive and actually get things done?" -Anony[miss]
Our talents are a gift. The ability to shoot stunning photographs, draw life-like images, or write words that speak to hearts across the world is a drop of divine creativity housed in our humanity. Yet our gifts are limited when we fail to manage our time well. The “urgent” takes the place of what is really important, and we’re left with guilt and overwhelming feelings as our gifts go unused and the to-do list piles up.
Productivity gurus have plenty of advice for managing time. Much of how we use our time comes down to how we form habits. This is, in turn, influenced by personality type, your day job, and even your stage of life. That’s why fulfilling our God-given talents ultimately comes down to the spiritual discipline of self-control.
As we walk in the influence of Christ, He grants us the self-control necessary to use our time for His glory. Here are five ways to practically submit your time and talents to the Lord and let your gifts shine for Him.
Set Goals or a Word for the Year.
I’m a habit and goal-setting fanatic. Nothing makes me happier than a new planner, list of goals, and word for the New Year. But it doesn’t need to be January first to make lasting changes in your life!
Goals should be practical. They should be slightly challenging, but not unrealistic. By setting goals, you set a direction for your skills. You have something by which to measure your progress, and a benchmark for your success.
I like to select a word for the Year. Some people start and end with their word – they don’t set goals at all, instead using the word as their direction. I like to set my goals in accordance with the word I’ve chosen. For instance, this year my word is “settle:” settle into our new hometown, settle into our new house, and settle into our community. Out of this word, I’ve established ten goals that help define my priorities for my craft. Find what works for you, but be sure to set a direction so you know where your gifts are taking you.
Take Weekly (or Daily) Phone Breaks.
As a blogger, I spend a lot of time on my phone. It got to the point where I wasn’t actually blogging, I was spending so much time on social media! This year, one of my goals was “52 free weekends.” Each weekend from Friday at 5 PM to Sunday afternoon, I shut my phone off completely and put it in a drawer.
By removing access to my phone, I’m forced to pay closer attention to how I use my time. I freed myself up to write more, engage with my family, and try new activities. I also notice more about my world, which improves my writing – and thus improves my craft.
Schedule a time in your calendar to shut off and move your phone out of reach. You’ll be shocked at the difference it makes!
Plan the Week on Sundays.
One way to constantly make time for your gifts is to plan it into your schedule each week. This is best accomplished by having a weekly planning day. Since our schedules tend to change more on a weekly basis, it’s easier to schedule it into your days on Sundays than it is to schedule it once a month.
My own scheduling time is Sunday afternoons. I plan all my meals, my workouts, and my writing times. When I was working full time, I would also plan out work and school deadlines (I was in college part time as well). This prevented them from sneaking up on me and guaranteed I still had time for my gifts.
Break Big Projects into Small Tasks.
Have a big project coming up? Wanting to put it off? You’re not alone! Break the project into small, bite-size steps – things you can do in an hour or less. Then schedule these into your planner (you have a planner, right?).
As you finish these smaller tasks, you’ll gain both momentum and satisfaction. You’ll be more motivated to continue working on the project because you feel as if you’re actually accomplishing something.
Create a Morning Routine.
Finally, create a morning routine. Ironically, your mornings start the night before – going to bed at a decent time, setting one alarm (as opposed to ten), setting out your clothes, and packing your lunch if necessary. Once the alarm goes off in the morning, have something to look forward to. Save your favorite blogs or magazines for reading with your morning coffee. Take time for God’s Word. Work out or go for a run. Whatever brings you joy, schedule it for the morning, and you’ll be more likely to get a jump on your day.
Starting your morning well is a great way to boost productivity and improve your time management. By getting tasks done earlier in the day, you’re free to pursue your gifts without distraction.
There is so much more to be said on improving habits and taking time for your talents! For more information on this topic, I encourage you to read Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Better Than Before.” To read more about grace-based productivity, check out the series on my blog.
Thanks to our Delight & Be contributor: Phylicia Masonheimer
Phylicia is a blogger, writer, and guidance counselor living in Petoskey, Michigan with her husband, Josh, and daughter, Adeline. Nothing makes her happier than pour-over coffee, vegan scones, and a fresh to-do list. She blogs about productivity and gospel-centered living on her website, Phylicia Delta, and her ebook on biblical sexuality launched March 1st.