Find More Time by Giving Less Time Away

“How do you know who to help and who not to get involved with?”

I asked that question to a spiritual mentor when I was in college. I had gone to Miami to take part in an internship. That day I was out visiting people with one of the mentors in the program. The church was not huge but big enough that—being on staff—he had many people wanting some of his time.

Very few people needed my time but I figured someday they might. So I asked.

Maybe you’ve asked the same. Depending on your season of life you possibly have a number of people vying for your attention. A spouse. A child or two. A boss. Co-workers. Places where you volunteer. Friends. Extended family.

The list could go on. And each of these people often want a piece of your time.

On top of that you have your work to do. You have the yard to keep up. You have things around the house that need to be fixed or replaced. Where do you find the time for everything?

The answer is you find more time when you give less of it away. And you know how to give less of it away when you get still and focus on the important.

Often we say “yes” to too much because in saying “yes” we feel needed, we feel important, and we feel more useful. But we can also wind up feeling used and taken advantage of and tired.

John Maxwell has said “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can ‘yes’ to the best.” And that’s similar to what my mentor taught me. He said, “I always have three people that, if they were to call and need me, I’ll say ‘yes’ to no matter what. Sometimes with others I may have to say ‘no’ because I’m doing something else that I have a commitment to do.”

I took his advice and follow it to this day. Even Jesus focused on a few. He had the Twelve. Out of those he was closer to three: Peter, James, and John. And John was closest of all. If he had to limit who he could give his time to then it’s a safe bet we need to also.

Only when you know what to say “yes” to you will know what to say “no” to. And when you figure that out you’ll have all the time you need to do the things you need to do.

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