Topic Study: Time Management

(January 2005 TG Entry – Steward)

I             Results of my Time Study

I wrote the following e-mail to some friends in January 2005.

You may (or may not) be interested in the results of my personal time study for the last year.  I estimated daily my time spent in different areas of my life for about 35 weeks of this last year.  In January of last year I thought I should try to allocate my time as follows:

  • 30% or about 50 hours for Family
  • 30% or about 50 hours for Work
  • 30% or about 50 hours for Personal, meaning sleeping, eating, etc
  • 10% (a tithe) or about 18 hours for Church/community

My actually results were:

  • 27% or about 45 hours for Family
  • 24% or about 40 hours for Work
  • 39% or about 66 hours for Personal, mean sleeping, eating, etc
  • 8% or about 14 hours for Church
  • 2% or about 3 hours for Community

Two different scout camps, two different family vacations and local charity work in December helped Church, Family, and Community areas respectively.  I didn’t include the significant overlap there is for family and church or community service, counting the hours in only one area.

Excluding weeks I took a day or more of vacation I worked an average of 50 hours a week.  But when including all weeks, I worked an average 40 hours a week exactly.  Sort of like not getting vacation, but that is our modern world.  My work schedule last spring was not really that demanding, so this might be a lower number than I have had in other years.

My personal time was substantially more than the 50 hours a week I estimated; certainly a bad estimate.  I need to sleep 8 hours a night and the need to exercise, etc.  This time also includes my personal scripture study, etc.

So perhaps a better estimate would be

  • 25% or about 42 hours for Family
  • 25% or about 42 hours for Work
  • 40% or about 67 hours for Personal, meaning sleeping, eating, etc (9 1/2 hours a day)
  • 10% (a tithe) or about 17 hours for Church/community

I don’t know if I will do anything new with this information, but I thought it was interesting.


II            Not Necessary

Listen to the following verses:

27  And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

Mosiah 4:27

40  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?  bid her therefore that she help me.

41  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:40 – 42

Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.

D&C 10:4

Notice from all three of these statements we are commanded to not run faster, we are told that it is not requisite, and that only one thing is needful.

The Lord of universe created the laws by which we live.  If it had been “needful” or “requisite,” do you think He could have created different laws?  Could he have established his laws such that we only needed two hours of sleep a night?

My time study indicates that I spend, in the course of one year, approximately 40% of my time every week on myself, engaged in activities such as sleeping, eating, exercising, bathing etc.  That is approximately 9 ½ hours a day.  I don’t find that number excessive.  But I do find it to be a very large number.

Surely the Lord could have created a way for me not to need that much sleep.  But he did not.  He created the laws by which we are governed.

I think he expects us to sleep an adequate amount.  Notice that the Lord gave us a command to abstain from hot drinks.  A January 2005 article in National Geographic talked about caffeine.  It noted that it is the most used drug in the world by far.  It was discovered as an ingredient of coffee in 1838, an interesting period in church history, just 5 years after the receipt of the Word of Wisdom.

Now I do not know that abstaining from caffeine was the Lord’s reason for not partaking of “hot drinks.”  But other prophets have warned that the Word of Wisdom does contemplate abstinence from drugs.  They have taught that the Spirit is so sensitive, that we are more susceptible to its promptings when we are healthy.  Perhaps that is why the Lord placed the command about sleep just before the Word of Wisdom.

In the same sense that we did not come to earth to experience perfection (we experienced that while in God’s presence), we did not come to earth to experience perfect efficiency.  That is not the purpose of this earth life.

If something is “not needful,” then it is wasted.  Time spent doing things that are not needful is wasted.


The greatest efficiencies we can gain in life are to be had through revelation.  Here is an example of inefficiencies from my life from not listening from July 2007:

I rushed out of the house when I saw the landscaper’s truck show up to dump some things.  It was a good thing I did so I could move the car.  I drove away and realized I had forgotten something I needed to take to the scout office that day.  So I turned around, parked, and started to go in the house.  I saw that it was the wife of the contractor there dumping the things, and I had the thought that I should help guide her into the driveway.  Well, I decided I was in too big of a hurry, and ran into the house.  That was a mistake.

I couldn’t find the thing I was looking for very quickly, but did take enough time to see that she had popped the dump truck and on the way up it had caught and bent the basketball hoop and taken off the net.  Also, none of the sand would come out as it was a bit wet.  I finally found what I needed after 10 minutes or more and a bit of a flustered conversation with Kari.  I went outside and stopped at her window to ask if I could help.  Well, it was too late; she had her four children with her, and had already asked the oldest to go find Dad.  I could tell she was very flustered, probably angry at her husband for making her do these sorts of things, and didn’t really want my help.

I then went to Ben Carter’s to pick up his Eagle Scout application.  We reviewed it, I found one minor thing wrong, and I realized I had forgotten the other recommendation letters for him.  He has completed everything he needed to do.  But I had to go back home again, another 20 minute round trip, to get those letters.  I saw that the dump truck had left, and no sand had been delivered.

I told the congregation in Joliet yesterday that if I had listened to that prompting to be of service, the Lord could have (1) helped me find the thing sooner because it was right next to the place I was looking, (2) kept me from having to repair the basketball hoop and net (3) had sand in the driveway so the contractor could have finished putting it in the patio but as it is, I will probably end up getting a bit more to fill in a couple of small gaps, (4) helped me remember the letters that I needed as well, (5) and been of real service to the man that was helping me out of my problems.  I exchanged 30 seconds of my time for more than 30 minutes of problems.

Working by the spirit is the most important thing we can do to have all things work together for my good.

III           Work Together

[Do an analysis of these scriptures which have the words “all things work together” in common.]

28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Rom. 8:28

24  Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.

D&C 90:24

3  Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.

D&C 98:3

15  Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.

D&C 100:15

40  And make proposals for peace unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the Spirit which is in you, and all things shall work together for your good.

D&C 105:40

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