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Very Rev. Femi's Maxims of Time Management

Updated on January 25, 2019

Seven Maxims of Time Management!


by Michael A. Femi-Adebanjo on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 at 23:27  

Ignorance is the greatest enemy of man; and the worse ignorance is to be ignorant of your ignorance.  Then, we say education is progressive to the discovering of our ignorance. 

 Management means to conduct the affairs of business, to have work under control while providing direction, to guide other employees, to administer or organize work processes and systems, and to handle problems. Managers monitor and control work while helping a group of employees to conduct their work more successfully than they would have without Managers. A manager’s job is often described as providing everything his reporting employees need to successfully accomplish their jobs. One famous quote from Warren Bennis, Ph.D. in ‘On Becoming a Leader’  distinguishes management from Leadership: “Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.” Hence, it takes leaders to effectively manage time. 

 Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style.

Much is written about what makes successful leaders.  Time is such an opportunity that if we make the most of it, we have the ticket to live life at its fullest. While placing maximum value on our precious time can save us from the perils of living in the valley of torments and waste, I will put a finger on the characteristics, traits and actions that - I believe - are needed to be understood in this Seminar. Then, I will focus on what matters most amongst those guides… at the moment!

  • Choose to lead.
  • Be the person others choose to follow.
  • Provide vision for the future.
  • Provide inspiration.
  • Make other people feel important and appreciated.
  • Live your values. Behave ethically.
  • Set the pace through your expectations and example.
  • Establish an environment of continuous improvement.
  • Provide opportunities for people to grow, both personally and professionally.
  • Care and act with compassion.
  • Learn, master the art, and control the use of your TIME.


 Goals and Motivation

 While humans use their sense of appropriating reasons for misfortunes, our Lord sees the massive waste inherent in much ado about finger-pointing at the expense of timely action to improve life- John 9: 1-4.

 Motivation, goal-setting, self-discipline, hard-work and effective use of time go together.  Combining them puts you amongst the few wise men that are empowered to manage their lives successfully.  In 2009, I spoke in a Seminar for Church Council Leaders at Oyigbo Circuit to establish four to six goals and measurements that all leaders can understand and use to contribute to the progress of the Church business. It was fun brainstorming all of the possible metrics. We also realized that to come up with a metric for high performing leadership force would be difficult, without surmounting the problem of Time Mis-management. We spent some time discussing what a high performing work force and high performance culture might look like in a non-capitalist Organization like ours (Orthodox Church).

 A paper from the Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership maintained – and I agree – that “TIME is the great equalizer of the race. We each have 24 hours per day: We cannot extend it, store it or revise it – no-matter how hard we try.  Therefore, it is imperative that we must learn; master the act and the control of our TIME”.

 It is all about established maxims!

 Successful people do not find time; they make time. Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste time is to waste one’s life. But when one masters his time, he masters how to make the most of this short opportunity to live.  Anyone who fails to manage his time cannot manage his/her life. Living our lives with sense of responsibility marks the difference between the fools who awaits the evils of the day, and the wise that plots the fall of such evils. (Eph. 5: 15-16.)

 I remembered sitting with great men and women at the Wesley Nursery & Primary School’s Management Committee, and later our ever-virile Wesley-One Church Council, about few months ago to clearly define these metrics for all staff. You could see the tension and expectation on the faces of our School Staff. And, every employee I talked with knew what those goals and measurements (metrics) should be and how they were going to work with them every day. When released, each employee would also be able to relate to you how their job impacted those conditions of service, its quality, and profitability.   I cannot emphasize the importance of clear direction within your organization enough. Be careful, though, to recognize that there is a Darker Side of Goal Setting: Why Goal Setting Fails...  One of the most-ignored factors militating against success in this part of the world is

Disobedience to the simple discipline of TIME MANAGEMENT!  Hence, I was empowered to compile for you only Seven Maxims of Time Management!

 Maxim #1 :  Doing Good Things only bring success if those acts are those that matter most!

 Refuse to get yourself busier and busier doing what you consider the good things, until you have stopped to ask yourself – and get sure that what you are doing is actually what matters most.  Time is a resource that is unlike other resources that can be saved, stored up, stock-piled or hoarded.  Either you turn it off or on, it is irreplaceable: When spent, it measures the quality of one’s life – positive or negative - depending on whether we squander it or maximize its usefulness!

 Maxim #2 :  The careless phrase “African time” is a curse that sticks, to undermine the success of those who keep it!

 The careful watch-dog of the majority of Africa’s celebrated failures, while tracing the backwardness of the average ignorant African, saw the black man’s weapon of self-destruction. He aptly christened it “African time!” It is the foolish person’s measure of time and weapon of deliberate slothfulness.

 Stop and think for a second… Have you not observed the majority of Nigerian’s attitude to time?  Lateness, idleness, slothfulness reigns within the lower rungs of the ladder. People are often never punctual.  We go to bed late (often doing nothing of importance), and we wake up late.  Almost everything here runs late: Church Service, Work, Train, Bus, and even Airplane! Almost all the very important people run late to state function because they believe that others will be late: The list is worrisome: Mr. President, Governors, Captains of Industries, Executives of Companies, Church General Overseers, Lecturers and students alike!  Most meetings, classes and programmes run late because, it seems impossible to begin on time.

 Maxim #3 :  Opportunity waits for no man except that person to whom time-consciousness is a skill!

 Ephesians 5: 16 admonish all believers to make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil… Ecclesiastes 3: 1-9 makes us to know that there is time for everything under the sun. (Refer to 1 Peter 3: 18; Col. 4: 5; John 9: 4).

 Effective use of time is a skill that can be acquired.  The better we become at practicing the skill, the more effective and proficient we become.

 Have you considered how not to use our time? Wasting it with our habits and procreations at the time we should be working!  Rest is good: but, after labour. How do you plan the use of these time-killing items, behaviours and vocations: Television, Idle-Talks (Unfocused Standing Committee Meetings), Car Repairs and adumbration, Telephone and GSM Sets, Lateness to occasions or procrastination, Video and Home Decoders, Unplanned Trips? What do you do about the problems you have identified; untreated files; piled-up and un-replied mails?

 Procrastination is a thief of Time. Never say you will do something that is scheduled for today on the next day.  You have seen today; do what you have to do, then do something else tomorrow. The only resource that is evenly distributed all over the world – without discrimination – is time.  The rich and the poor have only 24 Hours daily through which our lives are defined.  Always make time for things you consider important.

 Maxim #4 :  We always have time enough, if we will but use it right!

 Those leaders who really get things well-done never start with their work: they start with their time. Effective Management involves making good choices with good habits.  You can master your time and personally manage your life.  Though I cannot teach you to become an expert on this Course of study in one short-timed Seminar, we can embrace the basics. This is where the greatest skills start from.

 * Pray first, and then Plan your day. Prayer is the key that opens the most difficult-to-unlock doors of success. It is planning on its own. We always have time enough to do the most important things we have planned effectively to do. Man has to appreciate the fact that we shall never have more time: So, avoid distractions.  Every morning when the alarms ring, we have a totally new opportunity to maximize the use of each hour… We can even have the time for recreation and rest.  A successful life is nothing more than strings of successful days. Having a thought-out TO DO LIST is daily goal-setting.  When other peoples’ plans lead to your reactions, you are planning to fail.  Write down the things you want to accomplish in order of importance.  Start each day with the most important item on your list. Look into your list from time to time and check the ones that are done. If you are accomplishing something daily, you are already building the blocks of a successful life. You are saving into your integrity account. You will be overwhelmed by the results you will get in a long period of time!

 * Be determined to achieve each goal before you set out. Believe in God, and then in yourself. Commit yourself to your goal: It is achievable if you believe. This way, you can develop the self-disciplined aid to goal-setting; overcome the demon of procrastination, and use your time more effectively.

 * Be success-driven as you start small. The reason why most people drive themselves into disappointments is usually their emotional crave to achieve-it-all in one fell swoop! Success only comes when you take one blow at a time: Do what you should do, one step after the other!

 * Desire to always work at <span>your most productive time of the day. Know your body language, first. Everyone has a body clock : that time when you feel stronger and more ready to work.  It is not the same active time with everybody.  I work better when I have a deadline, and I don’t like to be pressurized.  Like you, I feel guilty when I procrastinate.  Do you desire success? Use your time well.

 Maxim #5 :  Whether you are a Failure (loser) or a Success (winner) is determined by what you do with your time!

 Refuse to do everything under the sun with the little time you have.  Concentrate on the most valuable use of time:  Brian Tracy says that this is what separates winners from losers.

We live by choice, not by chance.  What differentiates failures from the successful is never the factors named luck, genetics, timing or circumstances of birth or knowing the right people: It is what you do within 168 hours that makes up one week, or 21440 minutes per day!

 Losers kill time; while winners use time!

Losers waste time; while winners spend time carefully!

Losers lose their time; while winners gain time, because they value it!

Losers allow time to slip away; while winners organize time!

Losers take time for granted; while winners treasure time!

Losers squander time; while winners schedule time!

Losers can’t find time; while winners make time!

 Maxim #6 :  Time has not changed, but human beings do change!

 Great Leaders discern the times, reading God’s word. They get honest with life’s situations and ask the golden question of Time Management: *What am I doing now that does not need to be done by anyone else?  Do I know it better, given the crop of helping hands available? Has technology overtaken this method I am about to employ?  The foregoing questions include the process of elimination.  *What am I doing now that needs to be done by someone else?  This makes you to effectively delegate. *What am I doing now that wastes my time, or other people’s time… that could have been better employed for productive means?

 *Set Goals.  Men have become more effective than the Stone Age.  The world has become so competitive.

*Establish priorities for your Set Goals.  Men are not made by ideas, Ideas must work for those who embrace it… or it is dumped!

*Draw maps.  Planning involves creating modus-operandi for your goals to be achieved.

*Follow procedures that lead to the achievement of your Set Goals.  Procedures eliminate time-wastage. Success comes with good goals, efficient priorities and workable plans.

 Take time to consider priorities- it is the means of understanding.

Take time to work- it is the price of success.

Take time to think- it is the source of power.

Take time to plan- it is the strength of your achievement.

Take time to play- it is the secret of age renewal.

Take time to read- it is the fountain of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly- it is the hub of better relationships.

Take time to relate with others- it is the road to a happy tomorrow.

Take time to dream- it is the price of stardom.

Take time to love and be loved- it is a privilege for the redeemed humans.

Take time to give- life is too short for Man to be selfish.

Take time to laugh- it is the music for a healthier soul.

Take time to SERVE GOD- it is the only investment that predates Man, and still lasts.

  Ifthe words of wisdom above make any sense at all, remember that Time management is concerned with the life in each of your days.I am duly supported by a great thinker who wrote:  “It is not the days of your life, but the life in your days that count.” – Stevenson.

  Time has not changed, but human beings do change!  But how do we deal with our priorities?  *Be honestly truthful to yourself.  *Consider how urgent that matter of priority is.  *Should it be done now? Can it wait today, till another time soon or someday?  *Make sure you are not procrastinating about an issue you have thoroughly considered to be of ultimate importance.

 How important is that your matter of urgency over other issues facing you?  Candidly, will solving this matter build goodwill and better friendship with your God? How important: Is it quite necessary? Somewhat important? Not so vital?

 Have you considered the availability of resources? In your heart of hearts, do you reckon that God will gladly provide the funds and necessary wherewithal for this priority as you pray?  How often must this priority be executed? Daily? Weekly? Sometimes?  Can someone else do this better?  Is it part of the larger goals I must accomplish? Is the way I have chosen to go about it the best?

 What we call urgent matters, when put under divine stethoscope, are seldom important.  Important Matters are seldom urgent.  That was the reasoning of Late American General Eisenhower.  

 Maxim #7 :  Those leaders who really get things well-done never start with their work: they start with their time!

 In Christianity, life is mostly about COMMITMENT! So, we agree on three Great Commitments:

*Our commitment to God through our total faith in His son, JESUS CHRIST. This earns us a relationship with, and reconciliation to, our maker.

*Our commitment to God’s work. Have you read Acts 1:8, Joshua 1: 8 today? God has given us tasks to perform.

*Our commitment to the body of JESUS CHRIST. Please study John 13: 34;

1 John 5: 23; John 17: 21.  Our commitment is a task. Do you have time for yourself, your own family, the family of God?  Do you now have time for someone else? Have you any time left to plan for the task to which he is calling you?

 Now, we can consider life in a broad sense… to be able to get things well-done.  When you get a job, do you consider yourself a master of all fields? Great leaders ask themselves ‘What am I better doing with my time?’ ‘Can anyone do this part of the work better than I am, while I face the one I am sure no one else does better?’ Those leaders consider their time and delegate duties to honest working men.  They ask the questions: Who may I delegate, and what is his qualification over others?  Is he available, and at what price?  Should I reschedule the timing for the job, or eliminate it altogether?  Where is the place of sequence?  Are there objectives to re-define?  Leaders who are hungry for success do not consider who takes the glory: for they know that the success’ accolades always go to the head of the team that achieves the timeless goal. 



 *As we round-up, let us look at the issue of ‘Meeting Management’ as it relates to Competing Conversations.  Do you want to develop effective working relationships with people at work? Get to the round table earlier than your subordinates! Effective interaction by people in business meetings can create effective work relationships. Effectively timed group meetings manage the interaction of difficult people holding competing conversations. Start by planning early, appearing early, and then work on how to effectively manage a meeting, and make sure that this meeting is productive, too.  

We can establish our priorities by listing all our goals, and watching over them as we go about fulfilling them.  Make sure that these goals are measurable. Do not accomplish any goal until you have analyzed the WHYs of each of them.  Make sure that those ones that do not glorify God will only waste your precious time: Each Christian goal must add value to life.

Those things that must be done must be very important.

Those things that should be done must be somewhat important.

Those things which can be done must be not so important.

 In taking your action after now, please consider these timeless truths:

Wrong action , executed at the wrong time is a Disaster.

Wrong action , executed at the right time is a Mistake.

Right action , executed at the wrong time is a form of Resistance.

Right action , executed at the right time leads to Success.

 Eccl 12:13 says “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (KJV).

 Remember: The city is built with the wisdom of the wise and the folly of the fools.  I do acknowledge the wisdom of all those who had ever written on this subject matter.

 Thank you for your attention.


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