Three Warning Signs You Are Wasting Time

Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (Psalm 90:12). Our days are short. We are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14). David prayed, “LORD, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am” (Psalm 39:4). Because our time is short and the days are evil, the apostle Paul challenges us to walk wisely and make the most of the time (Ephesians 5:15-16).

There is a deep connection between wisdom and making the most of the limited time we have been given. Wise people recognize the brevity of this life and steward their time well.

Because stewardship of time is so important, here are three warning signs you are not stewarding time wisely.

1. Doing that which should not be done

Economist Clive Hamilton coined the phrase “People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like” to lament the downfalls of consumerism. Just as people waste incredible amounts of money on the unnecessary and unfulfilling, people waste incredible amounts of time. Peter Drucker stated, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Because we have been given limited time, wisdom calls for us to evaluate our lives and rid them of the unimportant. We should not pay with time for things that should not be done at all.

2. Treating the least important as the most important

While some things should not be done at all, there are things that must be done but are not the most important (like mowing the yard). When the least important dominate someone’s mind, they receive more attention than that which is truly important. Mowing the yard needs to be done but should not receive your best energy and attention. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wisely stated, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

3. Rethinking some repeatable actions over and over

There are some problems that do not need to be constantly discussed, evaluated, and decided on over and over again. If you find yourself discussing and rethinking the same action steps over and over again, your time could be better managed.

Our time on this earth is brief. Just as we should steward our money wisely, so should we steward our time wisely. Just as we should generously invest our resources in His kingdom, we should generously leverage our time for what is eternally significant.