Systems dictate behavior. Systems make your decision-making easier. The absence of systems in your life only adds to the complexity of your life. No systems — no simplicity. If your life is out of balance and hurried, then you need a system, or you need to work the system you forgot about. If you are really busy but not all that productive then you need a system. Systems don’t have much sizzle, but we need them. A system is a well thought out plan. God developed systems and operated within their parameters.
God was systematic in creating the universe and resting afterword. God had temple plans, plans for the Israelites, military plans, a system of worship, a time-sensitive plan to raise Lazarus on the fourth day, and even one in which he Himself would die only to be resurrected on the third day. God is big on systems.
A budget is a system. A budget makes decisions for us as to how we spend, invest, handle debt or give money away. Without a budget we are far more likely to impulse-buy, live paycheck to paycheck, or lose sleep worrying about the power bill. Money is too powerful to run unleashed without a system to reign it in.
Time is money. Like money, time is finite; it can be easily wasted, spent, invested or even borrowed against. Your time needs a system. If time doesn’t have a system, it will fly by so fast that nothing gets done. Time without a system is either frantic busyness or mind-numbing idleness and each are equally exhausting.
Do you live with the aid of wise, proactive systems in your life? Or do you live unwise in a reactionary mode where circumstances, responsibilities and obligations crush your spirit in the name of demonic busyness? Are you weary but have less than you should for your efforts?
A calendar can be a system for you, but it usually isn’t. Usually people have calendars on their phones that tell them what to do next, but there is no strategic system in place that prioritizes what goes on the calendar. Organized busyness is not the goal. Making goals first and then making a calendar is best. A calendar/time-management system should not only inform you of tasks but also your priorities based on your goals. Some things shouldn’t ever get on your calendar. Why are they there? Learn to say “no” based on your priorities and goals, not “yes” as a people pleaser or out of guilt. Here are some suggestions for carving the complex busyness out of your life:
- Find a time/management system that helps you establish short and long-term goals, rituals and priorities and not just a “to do list” (I recommend Michael Hyatt’s Focused Planner System).
- Learn to operate within systems that make it easier for you to say no to bad time and money scenarios, respectfully.
- Be the steward God has called you to be with the preciousness of time.
- Consider the following truth: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Here’s some good news: God has a way for you to be wise and efficient while enjoying life. I encourage you to get “unbusy” as you grow into greater levels of stewardship and strategic living for the glory of God.
Dr. Gary Hewins is the President of lifepoints.org, a coaching and consulting ministry to ministry leaders and preachers and the Senior Pastor of Community Bible Church in the picturesque mountains of Highlands, NC.