Goal Setting Part 5: Tips and Tools for Time Management

Psalms 90_2


It’s a great equalizer, isn’t it? Everyone has the exact same amount of time in a day, a week, a month, a year. The clock ticks are the same for you as they are for me. For the CEO of a fortune 500 company and for the homeless person on the street.

We can’t buy, sell, or store it. We can’t really save it, invest it, or erase it—even though we like to say we can. We can’t control it; speed it up or slow it down. We can’t stop it. And once it’s gone, we can’t get it back…ever.


We can manage how we use it.

We can waste it or use it wisely.


Genesis 1_14

Did you know God created time? It’s a gift. A resource. A blessing.

Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19, NLT)

So as the Creator, God is above time. Outside of time. Not governed by it as we are. I don’t know about you, but I find a lot of comfort in this, especially when it comes to goal setting and goal achieving.

Revelation 1_8


Because His timing really is perfect! He knows when things should best be put into place. And for someone like me, someone who likes control, who craves a plan to follow and steps to take, relinquishing control is hard. But when I release my goals and time into His hands, I discover peace and freedom. (I just have to remember to leave it there and not try to take it back.)

What does that mean for us? Those of us who are confined by time and must live within its boundaries?

Listen to Paul’s words:

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. (Ephesians 5:15-17, NLT, emphasis mine)

The ESV puts it this way: “…Making the best use of the time…” or the COV (Cheyenne Olson Version) “don’t be stupid with your time.”

Don't be afraid to say NO!

I’m not an expert at time management. I’m still trying new things and learning what works best for me. And as life changes and morphs, I’ve learned to adjust and discover new tools and ways of doing things. But the overall principle that follows me is this: You need to control your calendar and time or they will control you! Don’t be afraid to say NO!

See, I tend to get caught up in the desire to help and do and be everything for everyone else that I defer my calling. I want to meet other’s needs, especially when I know I can. Then I had an “ah-ha” moment (ok a holy 2×4 over the head moment) that has helped me facilitate a more balanced life: Serving others at the cost of walking in obedience to what God has called me to do is a sin of pride. It was then that I finally realized I can’t be everything to everyone. I must to prioritize and work within the confines of my time. I have a responsibility to do what Jesus has given me to do.

Ephesians 5_15-16

Tips for Time Management

1) When is your BEST work time?

  • When are you firing on all cylinders and the most productive?
  • Guard that time and work everything else around that.

2) Write down your priorities

For example

  • Relationship with God: Quiet Time, Prayer, Church, Small Group, Bible Study
  • Family: Marriage/Significant other, Kids, Extended Family
  • Friends
  • Career/Work/Job/Business, or if still a student, School/Classes, Homework, Projects (many of you have both)
  • Ministry
  • Mentoring
  • Discipleship
  • Fitness
  • Errands
  • Appointments
  • Maintaining your living space

3) Where do they fall in your calendar

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Annually

Let’s face it, not everything we need or want to do it a daily thing, but they may happen a few times a week. Many things are weekly or monthly. Some are annually or even semi-annually. And some things can happen simultaneously.

4) Determine how much time these things really take

  • We have a tendency to overestimate or underestimate the amount of time things take.
  • A few examples:
    • How many research papers have you put off thinking it wouldn’t take that long?
      • No comment.
    • How many house projects have you done that should “take an afternoon” but actually take an entire weekend?
      • Oh, too many to count,

5) Figure out a schedule and add it to your calendar

  • But be flexible!
    • Don’t be so rigid with your schedule that you snap.
    • But also don’t become so flexible you resemble an overcooked spaghetti noodle.
  • You have to leave room for the “unexpecteds,” illnesses, injuries, emergencies. But you also have to create boundaries to protect yourself and your goals.

6) Try your new schedule for several weeks, giving it your best effort and determination, and evaluate

  • Is this sustainable for the long term?
  • Is it working or not?
  • Does the schedule need to be tweaked or significantly altered?
  • What are your challenges, and how to overcome them?
  • What are your victories, and how to maximize them?


I use both an electronic and paper calendar.

I use the Cozi app on my phone

  • It has my calendar, holds recipes, and keeps all my shopping lists all in one place.
    • This is helpful when we have different brands of phones in our family and various iTunes accounts.
    • We all stay on the same page.
  • This is where I keep all the details of my appointments and events.
    • Notes, addresses, who is all going, etc.
  • This is where I enter everything first.

I also use a paper calendar

  • This is where I put in the basics of my schedule to keep the visual in front of me and to determine where my holes are in my day
  • I also use the calendar because I was missing a lot of the appointments on my phone calendar, even with notifications.

I have tried a variety of calendars over the years, and different planners have worked for different seasons in my life.
(Watch the Facebook Live video for more detail, here)

The one I use now is the Panda Planner.

I love this one because

  • It’s a blank/undated calendar, so you can start and stop it at any time, which mean less waste
  • The way it’s organized
    • It helps me break my goals down by month, week, and day
    • It gives space for weekly and daily reflection on things I’m thankful for and excited about
    • It helps me keep all my writing projects organized
    • It has a place for me to write my memory verse out each day
    • It has my to-do list and schedule on one page
    • It encourages me to reflect on the day and way to improve tomorrow

There are other tools out there, but this is what I have found that works best for me.

I sit down every Sunday evening and fill in my weekly schedule.

I love doing this because

  • It forces me to review what is coming up during the week so I’m not surprised.
    • It also helps me plan ahead for meals and such—crockpot vs. stirfry.
  • Then I break down my goals for the week and write them in.
  • I keep everything color coordinated so it’s easy to see what’s what and whose events are whose.

Then every day

  • I reflect on what I’m thankful for and excited about for the day.
  • I write in my memory verse for the week
  • Review my schedule and goal
  • Fill out my To Do list for the day
    • (transferring the things from the previous day that didn’t get done if need be)

Last I pray over the day and get started

At the end of the day before bed, I take a couple of minutes to review the day and write it down.

All in all, it takes me about 5-10 minutes a day, but it saves me hours and missed appointments. I appreciate how this planner helps me stay on track and keeps me organized.

Next week we will talk about more specifics, on how to alter schedules, and how to do things like meal planning.

Blessings! xoxoxo



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