Editor’s note: Today we welcome Michael Lindner to the New Evangelizers blogging team!
Many years ago, when I was in my mid-thirties, my employer sent me to one of those “effective leadership” courses. Over the course of three days, I spent my time, individually and in small groups, doing various activities focusing on learning techniques on how to succeed, achieve personal goals and the goals of the company.
One activity I specifically remember involved making a list of and then ranking all of the things that I felt were important in my life, such as family, career, God, etc. The next step was then to estimate how much time was spent on the various things I felt was important.
It was eye-opening to me because although I had listed family and God as the most important, it wasn’t what I spent much of my time on.
Everybody has different resources and talents. Someone may have lots of money, while another has a quick wit. But we all have the same amount of time each day – fourteen hundred forty minutes – so how we allocate our time is important and insightful.
The idea is if you are not spending your time on the things you value, you will not achieve your goals. Conversely, if you’re not willing to put in the time on the things you claim to value, perhaps you don’t really value those things.
So there I was. I looked at my “values” list. My top three things were my faith, a wife, and children. Yet I was still a bachelor in a going-nowhere relationship. I was attending Mass, and when I thought of it, putting a fiver in the basket, but that was it. My “time” list consisted of work, work, spending time with a girl I knew I was lying to, random leisure activities, and work. I did not do anything that could be interpreted as working to begin a family, nor was I doing anything to grow in my faith.
Most of the people taking the course gained insight on to how to succeed in business; specifically on how to concentrate on their careers to get what they valued.
I did not gain insight into how I could advance my career. Instead, I began to realize that my life did not resemble my values. It was sobering.
I knew things had to change. After some soul searching, I decided that my “values” list was right, and I had to rearrange my priorities severely to get my “time” list to match if I wanted to get the things I valued.
I had to make many changes. I realized I had to take a two-pronged approach. I had end a dysfunctional relationship. I would also need to grow in my faith. This involved learning more about my faith and its teachings as well as making prayer a part of my day. I didn’t make any of those changes for some time, but that’s another story. What I did, however, was gain a new tool for examining my life.
My guess is if you’re reading this blog then your faith is somewhere near the top of your “values” list. How do you spend your time?
Copyright © 2012, Michael Lindner