How To Decide What You Will and Won’t Do with Your Time

I hear it all the time: “So many things are vying for my time. How do I decide, and how do I do it all and still write??” Many of us struggle to know what we should be doing with our time. And there are so many things we can do, most of which seem right and noble and even godly, and many of which take time away from being able to do this task of writing. Before you decide where to spend your time, put it to the God test. Ask Him to give you wisdom and discernment as you decide how you should spend your time. Consider God’s Truth for:

Writers’ Obstacle #1: Being Too Busy

Proverbs 2:1-2–My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will…and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom.

Proverbs 16:2-4—All of a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end.

Psalm 90:12–Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

Micah 6:6-8–With what shall I come before the Lord and bow before the exalted God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with 1000 rams, with 10,000 rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Romans 12:2–Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 5:16-17–So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

Please, share any other Scriptures that have helped you with this obstacle. And I encourage you to not just read these truths, but to study on them. To ask God to use them to guide and free you as you consider how to prioritize your time and involvements. He’s promised to give you exactly that if you ask.


24 Responses to How To Decide What You Will and Won’t Do with Your Time

  1. Avatar
    Lancia E. Smith March 22, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    The verse I look at every single day related to how and where I spend my time is Psalm 16.6 – I have this written across the wall above my office window at home so I see it every time I look up from my desk.

    “The [boundary] lines [of the land] have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.”

    When I am operating within the boundaries set for me, I am at peace and my spirit is full. I am able to do what is needful and good, and I experience well-being. I am able “to run and not become weary” as Isaiah said in 40.31. When I leave those boundaries though – something I struggle with every single day – I become scattered, stressed, prone to anger, exhaustion. Those boundary lines help me understand what is really mine to do and what is not.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball March 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      Beautiful verse, Lancia! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    Glenda March 22, 2017 at 6:34 am #

    Pondering the life-giving truth you shared. God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, unbound by time. But the master of it.

    I like James 4:14 “…you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

    Like vapor blown onto glass, I want to trace a meaningful message for others to see that perhaps, brings them hope and grace.

    Thanks for another timely post. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball March 22, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

      And thank you, Glenda, for beautiful thoughts on the topic.

  3. Avatar
    Jennifer Hallmark March 22, 2017 at 6:52 am #

    Lately, I’ve been thinking on John 5:19. “So Jesus explained, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does also. ‘”

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball March 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

      A powerful truth. And we don’t do all of this on our own, either.

  4. Avatar
    Chris Storm March 22, 2017 at 8:10 am #

    I love this! Wise advice, but sometimes so hard to follow. I always say, just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Thx for the reminder.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball March 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

      And another one: Just because you’re able, doesn’t mean you should. 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Nora Spinaio March 22, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    ‘nough said.

  6. Avatar
    Carol Ashby March 22, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    Thanks, Karen. I just added the Proverbs 16 and Ephesians verses to the document with the prayers to pray before starting a writing session that Dan gave us a few months ago.

    Great thoughts to focus on what really matters as we write.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball March 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

      Outstanding. So cool that you do that.

  7. Avatar
    Heather Marsten March 22, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    Thank you Karen. How about Luke 10:38-42 about Mary and Martha? This is good. I find my day goes better if I put God first. Somehow other things flow smoother.

    • Avatar
      karen Ball March 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

      Great verse! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Avatar
    Rebecca LuElla Miller March 22, 2017 at 9:14 am #

    Karen, thanks so much for pointing us to Scripture.

    I’ve been feeling overly busy and have asked people to pray for me to prioritize. I think this post is one answer to our prayers.

    Reading the comments also reminded me of a verse in Colossians that pricks my heart every time. It’s rather an obscure verse and may not be applicable to everyone, but I have a sense of God’s calling as a writer, so here’s the verse:

    “Say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it’ ” (Col. 4:17).

    That instruction to Archippus reminds me of my priorities.


  9. Avatar
    Peggy Booher March 22, 2017 at 10:06 am #

    Thanks, Karen, for this post and list. Right now, I feel like the guy in the picture.

    I’m looking for another job, plus I have devotional writing I want to do, plus I have “homework” from my counseling session yesterday, plus I promised a friend I’d help promote a walk against drug addiction. So– do I write a letter for a job I’m interested in, or go online and fill out an application for another job, or write a blog post (for today!), or pick out a devotional idea to work on, or go to the churches to see if they would be willing to put the walk in their bulletins, or do I go online to get information for my mother? Oh–I want to get back on track with walking, and it’s a beautiful day out.

    I don’t have a particular Scripture verse, but one day when I was wrestling with this same sort of problem, the Lord seemed to say, “Take one thing at a time. You don’t have to do it all at once.” (There are some days my mind keeps coming up with new things to do.)

    I do know it’s important to have priorities and boundaries. It’s too easy to get tangled up in things we were never supposed to be involved with, then we wonder why we are stressed out.

  10. Avatar
    rochellino March 22, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    “How to decide………. (not just what to do with your time but all other matters in life)

    Just follow these two simple steps.

    Psalm 62:8
    Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

  11. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee March 22, 2017 at 10:43 am #

    Karen, I have found that old saying to be true: “dust keeps as long as you don’t get it wet.” I would rather write than clean toilets… I am seriously considering getting a maid. Like you said, writing gets pushed aside for other things……so I am still considering getting a maid. When I was writing my dissertation, I carved out 2 hours a day to write and finished my 400 page dissertation in 12 months. When my hubby would ask if I wanted to go here or there, I would tell him “I still have 45 minutes to write today and then I can go.” I did and we did. It was worth it, in the end!

  12. Avatar
    Amanda Cleary Eastep March 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you for bringing us to the Word. This verse popped up last week and really hit me and helped me:
    “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
    Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

  13. Avatar
    Linda March 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    Thanks Karen.
    We can’t go wrong when we look to God for answers. I have to remind myself that He always hears and He will always answer in His time. And this verse reminds me He deserves my thanks. Psalm 143:8 let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way to go for to you I entrust my life.

  14. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson March 22, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    I needed to hear this! Thank you for the reminder!

  15. Avatar
    Cheryl March 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    After a few sleepless nights, your blog on my email early this morning was just what I needed to hear. For many of us trying to pursue this passion thing called writing, we find days full of rejections and disappointments. I joked with a friend last week that I just wished God would sometimes send me an email. Words right there on my computer that could clear my mind on His path and whisper words of encouragement. I know thousands of followers received your blog email today, but I’m counting your words as God’s email sent right to my computer. I picture my God smiling and saying, “Okay, silly girl, you ask for it.”

    Thank you, Karen, for using the gifts God has entrusted you with to help focus and encourage others today.

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