The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently revealed how Americans spend their time. For example, as the chart above illustrates, the average person between 25-54 with children under 18 spends 8.6 hours working, 7.6 hours sleeping, 2.6 hours in leisure and sports activities, and 1.2 hours caring for others.
Leisure time per day is dominated by watching television (2.7 hours), socializing and communicating (37 minutes), playing games and computer use (25 minutes), and participating in sports and exercise (19 minutes).
The study also revealed that there are significant differences according to age. For example, the typical college gets more sleep (8.4 hours) , works less (3 hours), and spends more time in leisure activities (3.6) than an older person.
What does this tell us about our lifestyle?
The way we spend our time reflects our priorities. Makes sense, right? If you get right down to it, we do what we want to do, nothing more, nothing less. If you seem to never have time to complete that particular project, perhaps it is time to reassess your priorities. How do you do that?
1. View your time as a spiritual matter. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” God has given us 168 hours a week, and we are accountable to him for that time. Matthew 16:27 tells us that Jesus will reward each person “according to what they have done”.
2. Take inventory of your time. Keep a journal of how you spend your time for one week. Include sleeping, working, travel, etc. Then add it up. Pay attention to the time that is difficult to track. What could you use that time for? Are you spending enough time with God? Be sure to plan your leisure time.
3. Determine your priorities. If you are not accomplishing what you want to, then set priorities. Set a goal to complete a project next week and stick to it. Break it down by hour or day if that helps. If you are not spending as much time serving others, decide what you can eliminate from your schedule to prioritize service.
4. Pray for guidance. Ask God to show you how to best spend your time. Then be accountable to him for that time.
What else can you do to maximize your time?