Maximize Your Time

September 21, 2014

David Sorn

We all feel busy, but is that because we really are busy or simply because we have poor time management? Find out 5 steps to better maximize your time!

Maximize Your Time

September 21, 2014

David Sorn

We all feel busy, but is that because we really are busy or simply because we have poor time management? Find out 5 steps to better maximize your time!


Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

As you saw, we’re talking about maximizing your time this morning.

Now, lots of the time…when I’m up here teaching about things, the passages from the Bible might be on a topic that I’m not all so great at myself.

But today’s topic is one that I’ve been obsessed with since I was a little kid.

And I’m constantly trying to find ways to save time, so I can maximize my time.

I can tell you that it takes me 6 minutes to drive home from the office one way, and 5:40 to go home the other way.

When I listen to audio books, sometimes I listen to them on double-time, so I can save time.

Before I start each day, I map out in my head, how I’m going to spend each hour of the day, and what I will do each of those hours

Now…maybe you think that’s obsessive or weird (and maybe it is), but I want to pass on a few things to you today that I’ve learned about “time” in my life.

And most importantly, we want to look to God’s Word on how to Maximize our time.

We are in the third week of our “Maximize” series where we are looking to the Book of Proverbs in the Bible for wisdom on how to make the most of our lives.

So here’s what I want to do this morning:

I’m going to give you FIVE really applicable and practical ways to better maximize your time…

And within each one of the five ways, we’re going to look at what the Book of Proverbs says on it.

And Proverbs is going to show you something interesting.

And Proverbs is going to show you why we DON’T take this advice.

AND…what happens…when we don’t.

So look carefully and listen intently to God’s Word today.


We’re all busy, right?

Like…crazy busy.

“Life’s out of control busy.”

Ever meet someone anymore who’s not busy?

Like they say, “I just wish I had more to do.”

It’s pretty rare.

EVERYBODY tells me today that they’re too busy.

Especially to do the important things.

Too busy to pray

Too busy to serve

Too busy to be in a house group

Too busy to spend more time with your family

Too busy to take a Sabbath (a day off)

Too busy to read the Bible

Too busy!

But honestly, I’ve rarely ever encountered a person who’s actually too busy.

I have, however, met a lot of people with poor time management. J

For example, I meet people who tell me that they would simply be too busy to serve once a month in our café, but then in the same conversation, they share how they just finished the latest TV season of “(you name it)” in 2 days!

Too busy J

You want to know one of the biggest obstacles that hinders us Maximizing Our Time?

It’s the fact that we have NO IDEA how we’re actually spending our time

And in a lot of ways…I don’t think we want to know.

It’s like this: The other day, I turned on the TV while Lindsey was gone and the kids were in bed…and I was making myself some delicious Pizza Rolls (I didn’t say I was good at Eating Right), and the Biggest Loser was on.

Which I felt bad…because I was watching it while eating Pizza Rolls.

I think I was watching the first episode of the season because they all were doing their initial weigh in.

And the 1 pattern I noticed between all of them, is that they were ALL surprised by how much they actually weighed.

No one had any idea beforehand.

I mean, they knew they were overweight…but not if they weighed…275 or 350 or 400.

Why? Because they didn’t’ want to know.

And I think our problem is similar.

We KNOW that we’re busy.

Why? I don’t think we want to look at why.

If you’ll allow me, let me show you what, for many of us, is dominating our free time:


This is a fascinating slide for how we spend our time.

Our consumption of Digital Media has grown from 3:11 per day to 5:46 in just 4 years.


And TV has remained constant despite it!

You can see at the bottom in red that our total media consumption has increased to over 12 hours a day!

Now, a lot of that is obviously multitasking.

Many people have the TV on at night and their scrolling through their phone (and their tablet!) at the same time.

But the numbers are staggering.

And I just wonder…do you know how bad it’s gotten in your life?

What if…..what if you did look at why you (I’ll put it this way…) “FEEL” so busy?

What if you took a hard look at your day, and actually wrote down…hour by hour…how you spent your time…for 1 week?

I really briefly mentioned this idea in a message about a year ago, and I think about 1 out of a few hundred people took me up on it.

But a TON of people told me it was a great idea. J

That is actually what the Book of Proverbs says is what separates the Maximizers from the lazy:

(Proverbs 14:23) – NIV

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Most people like to TALK about what they’re going to do…or TALK about how they’re going to change…but few actually put the work in.

What if you put the work in…on something that could really change how you live your daily life?

What if you took the first step in Maximizing Your Time….which is simply to AUDIT YOUR TIME.

#1 – Audit Your Time

On your way out today, we are going to hand you a sheet where you can actually fill in…THIS WEEK… on how you spend your time.

You can fill in…at the end of the day (or as you go), how you spend each hour of the day…for 1 week.

It’s up to you if you want to use it…we’re not gonna collect it J

But you can’t make changes to your schedule, unless you first have an idea of what it REALLY looks like in the first place.

And where you are potentially wasting time.

Donald Whitney, who has a fantastic book on Spiritual Disciplines, writes this about time:

“If people threw away their money as thoughtlessly as they throw away their time, we would think them insane. Yet, time is infinitely more precious than money because money can’t buy time.” - Donald Whitney


Okay, so let’s say you do this.

Let’s say you begin to take a hard look at how you’re spending your time, and you decide you want to spend it differently.

How do you do that?

How do you reprioritize?

Because that is the 2nd principle in Maximizing Your Time

#1 – Audit Your Time

#2 – Reprioritize Your Time

I think one of the biggest reasons we are so poor with our time, is that so many of us simply do not have a clear purpose for our lives.

When you have a purpose…even if it’s just a mini-one, your time is focused:

If you know you have to take a test tomorrow, your time will probably be focused today.

If you set a goal to learn Spanish by 2015, your time will surely be more focused.

If you set a goal to lose 20 pounds, your time will be more focused (probably with exercise on certain days)

Purpose also helps you focus on what not to do (no more mtn dew and 2 Super America donuts for breakfast)

Purpose brings order to your time.

But for a lot of people…particularly if you are done with your education, you have a job, and you’re just “living life”…you might lack a clear focus.

And if you don’t have a clear focus…you probably haven’t prioritized you time

And when you haven’t prioritized your time…your life ends up being just a sampler platter of insignificance.

An activity here or there…a new TV show here…scrolling through facebook for 2 hours a day there….

No real purpose.

But boy do you feel busy!

Or, for others, you might look at your audit…and find out that maybe you’re living for the WRONG purpose.

If a complete stranger looked at your audit at the end of 7 days, what would they say you are living for?


Academic Achievement?





So what is our purpose? And how should how we spend our time help us accomplish that purpose?

The apostle Paul gives great advice on this. Let’s take a look:

Page 949

Renovation App

(Ephesians 5:15-17) – NIV

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

This is one of the most basic tasks of your life.

A task you will do over and over and over again every day.


But to do that…to figure that out…we need to make better use of our time.

Because how can you hear the Lord’s voice if you never spend time with Him?

How would you even recognize it if He spoke?

And thus how could you know His will?

How can you know his general will he commands in the Bible…if you aren’t spending your time reading it?

Do you see what I mean?

Churches for centuries have said that our chief aim in life is to simply Glorify God.

But you cannot glorify Him if you do not know His will.

And you cannot know His will, if your life is not structured around helping you know it.

Of course, it goes deeper than that.

God gives us a mission.

To let him change us…so we can change the World.

If you looked at how you were spending your week…would it reflect that?

Are you letting Him shape you? So you can Hear Him?

Are you letting Him use you? To change the world?

Let me give you some examples of how you could choose to reprioritize (and thus MAXIMIZE) your time:

And so much of this is based of the person of Christ…who was selfless.

He spent His LIFE seeking His Father God and serving others.

Which is what we should look like.

So, for example…you could:

Choose to spend 10 less minutes a day on social media, but in your Bible instead (do it on your phone if you need to)

You could choose to…spend time with your neighbors who don’t know Christ…1 night a month

You could choose to…spend your commute listening to a Christian podcast or worship music.

Maybe do that in the morning, and your regular routine on the way home.

You could choose to read a book that will challenge you spiritually, put your phone away at 7pm each night, set-up a weekly lunch meeting with a friend who will challenge you spiritually.

You could start a Bible reading plan.

And the list goes on!

Paul says that we must make the most of every opportunity…of ALL of our time…so we can know God’s will.

And in Romans 12 he tells us that we can discern God’s will by letting God renew our minds.

But again…that won’t happen…without effort.

It won’t happen without you intentionally freeing up TIME in your schedule, so God can get in your heart, mind, and soul…and renew it!

And don’t put it off.

Think through…this week even…how you can reprioritize your time around a more Godly purpose.

If you wait…

The consequences of “busyness” OR

“A life unfulfilled” OR

“A life where you simply aren’t doing what you were created to do…” will catch up to you.

Proverbs speaks of this basic principle often:

(Proverbs 20:4) – NIV

Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.

Don’t fall in with the lazy…be diligent and work on this while you’re currently inspired to do so.

Here’s the basic theme of Proverbs on the topic of “time”: Do the work now…benefit later.

Don’t do the right thing now…suffer later.

This is simple stuff that we teach our kids…and yet, never figured out as adults.


So audit your week…and begin to prioritize.

And then thirdly:

#1 – Audit Your Time

#2 – Reprioritize Your Time

#3 – Make a Plan

I think this is actually one of our biggest failings as humans.

This happens EVERY SINGLE week in church.

People come…they listen…and they think, “Yes, I should totally do that.”

But yet they never do.

And then next week, “YES, I should totally do that!”

But then they never do.

It takes planning to implement ideas.


Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.


(Proverbs 6:6-9) – NIV

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?

If we want to make changes in our life, we’ve got to assess where we are, reprioritize, and then make actual plans to change.

Otherwise…the ant…who’s always planning ahead…will continue to show us up.

I really want to help you in this area of maximizing your time, so on the handout you’ll get when you leave today…on the backside of the paper is a chart for you to set a plan for how you’d like your week to look.


That’ll give you an opportunity to actually make a plan to MAXIMIZE your time.

And as you begin to work on how to do that…remember the pattern of Jesus.

You have to rest somehow.

Jesus took “rest” seriously.

Jesus was “high-engagement” and “high withdrawal”

When he was working on something and with people…he’s really present and really working.

But when he withdraws…he’s really resting.

Nowadays, we aren’t so good at either.

I mean, how is it that we have the equivalent of 12 hours of media consumption a day?

It’s because we’re CONSTANTLY multi-tasking:

We’re playing w/ our kids and checking our email at the same time

We’re watching our kids sporting event and finishing up some reports for work at the same time.

We’re watching TV, checking twitter, and “listening” to our spouse at the same time

The problem is…when you multi-task like that…you leverage doing multiple things in exchange for doing none of the things well.

AND…we’re seeing this more from studies now…multi-tasking…is exhausting.

And that’s because your brain never gets a break.

You feel like you’re accomplishing so much at once…but you’re burning yourself out faster than you ever thought

So schedule in time for rest.

And I know some of you are like, “I’m already resting by watching TV for 5 hours a day…I thought you said NOT to do that?!?”

Well, for one, schedule in something that’s actually relaxing.

And if that is TV for you…do it in moderation.

Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve made a conscious effort to slowly phase TV out of my life.

I now watch about 3-4 hours a week.

And it’s made a massive difference.

As you fill out that handout this week, think in terms of small, manageable changes first.

So for instance, my TV viewing habits, I slowly changed over time.

So ask yourself questions like:

“What’s 1 TV show I can stop watching?”

And then don’t just replace it with another one. J

Even 1 less show, is an hour less a week!

You can do a TON with 60 minutes, if you plan for it, and are serious about it.

And I bet you can even find more than an hour in there.

Or ask, “What’s one activity that you do, that you could do less of?”

Or, ask, “How can I limit my time on my phone?”

For example, 1 of the things I do is shut my email off on my phone when I’m at home…so I’m not bugged by it, and I can just focus on my family.

Or you could limit yourself to checking social media just in the morning at breakfast, rather than 22 times a day.

You’ll be impressed with all the time you get back

By the way, whenever I speak about phone usage, checking emails, multi-tasking, etc…I find rationalizations come out like crazy…

“You don’t work where I work!”

“I need to be on my phone!”

“I could never do that!”

Listen, you always have a choice.

“Like what, quit my job and try and get a different one?!”


You always have a choice.

Take control of your schedule for once rather than letting everyone else take control of it for you.

And, then begin to plan when you can do the things you were created to do.

The things of purpose.

When will you meet with God?

Is there a night that works for you to do a House Group?

Is there a night you can schedule a date night on if you’re married?

What times can you block out just to spend with your kids if you have children?

Try watching just 2 football games on Sunday instead of 3…

Guys, I just bought you back 3 hours of your life! J I’m on a roll!

It all can seem kind of miniscule, but when you do this…trust me…it is SIGNIFICANT.

Let’s say you buy back even 2 hours a week of your time a week….

100 extra hours a year of doing important rather than insignificant things…is a MASSIVE difference in your life!

And you will notice it!


But this isn’t easy to do.

That’s why we need our fourth principle

#1 – Audit Your Time

#2 – Reprioritize Your Time

#3 – Make a Plan

#4 – Enlist Help

If you’re actually going to do this.

If you’re going to go home…audit how you spend your time…begin to reprioritize, and make a plan…you need help.

But you probably don’t think you need help.

Look at this connection the Bible makes in Proverbs:


Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.

Isn’t that fascinating?

It makes a direct link between laziness (which most of us are when it comes to taking control of our time)…a direct link between laziness and our unwillingness to ask for help.

Because we know that if we were to ask for help…that we’d have to change J

If you’re married, do this challenge together.

Absolutely do this together.

Elbow each other right now, and say, “We’re gonna do this. We’re gonna fill this out… We NEED to do this”

If you’re dating someone, have your boyfriend or girlfriend help you out

If you’re single, have a friend keep you accountable to it.

Listen, what we’re talking about today…is basically getting ourselves to do something we don’t want to do.

There are an endless amount of studies out there now that say that the people who have the most success in things like dieting and exercise are the ones who do it WITH other people.

They join a Weight Watchers Group.

They join a RUNNING Club.

We need others to not only keep us accountable, but to cheer us on.

And most of all…get help from God.

Changing how you spend your time is hard.

You need Jesus in every step of this process.

You need Him to help you even begin Step 1

And as you reprioritize and plan, spend some time in prayer.

Ask Him specifically (I mean this…I’m not just saying it)…Ask Him specifically what you can give up.

And what you need to add.

Don’t’ just do this on your own.

This isn’t a self-help talk.

Let God Himself guide you and show you the path to His purpose.


And as you begin to make specific changes to how you spend your time, please also keep in mind this fifth principle

#1 – Audit Your Time

#2 – Reprioritize Your Time

#3 – Make a Plan

#4 – Enlist Help

#5 – Expect Imperfection

You will not be great at this.

You might not even be good at it.

But even so, it is worth doing.

It is worth attempting.

You can make plans, and it won’t go perfectly. Know that.

(Proverbs 16:9) – NIV

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

But even if you have a bad week, and you find yourself binging on old seasons of Friends…or you don’t do any of the new things you planned to do…it’s okay.

God still loves you. He forgives you.

He’s not expecting you to be perfect.

He just wants you to understand the value of time.

Because time is everything.

And time on this earth is short.

I love what Moses says in Psalm 90

(Psalm 90:12) – NIV

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

What he’s saying that if we really own up to the fact that our days (on this earth) are indeed numbered, and therefore our time isn’t meant to be aimlessly poured down the drain of insignificance.

If you can recognize that time is short, but your purpose is eternal….

That your purpose is significant…

That God wants to change YOU to change the world….

THEN…(as Moses says) Then you may have a heart of wisdom on how to spend your time.

And how to live your life.

I pray God gives you that wisdom.

Let’s pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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