My 6 year old recently lamented that he doesn’t have time to do anything. Well that’s ironical considering he does so much throughout the day.
Right from when he opens his eyes in the morning, he starts reading books, solving crossword puzzles, playing with toys, drawing and writing notes... the list just goes on and on. All these are on top of the time he spends playing, creating, building, and learning in before and after school care as well as in school.
Yet to him, it feels like he doesn’t have enough time to do all that he wants to.
We often feel exactly like my son. It’s seems that there is never enough time for everything. There is always something else to do, somewhere else to go, someone else to meet or talk to.
Where did my time go?
At the end of the day, I lay in my bed pondering, “Where did all my time go?” It felt like someone had stolen my time. Surely I’m supposed to have more time to finish up all that I’m supposed to and yet it seems like I ran out of time.
Nobody could have stolen my time since my life isn’t a Sci-Fi movie, which meant that I had 24 hours in my day just like anyone else. I didn’t have any less time than others had. Still, it felt like my day was shorter because I was trying to do much more than 24 hours would allow.
My time did not go anywhere. It was what I did with my time that made it fly past me without me realising.
Sometimes, this can be a good sign as it shows we are engrossed in what we are doing without being limited by time. On the other hand, it could also be a red light flashing, warning us that we have not been managing out time wisely.
How do we manage our time?
When it comes close to bedtime, my son gets frustrated at all the things he is missing out on that he wanted to do in each day but ran out of time to do them. As his mum, I could see the cause that led to this point of frustration.
On some days, he would spend too much time on certain activities. He would take a long bath or eat dinner slowly or spend ages in the toilet with a book resulting in less time for other activities.
At other times, he was just trying to accomplish too much – wanting to play cards, watch a movie, read some books, draw a picture and make some crafts – cramming thousands of things in the short period of time after dinner and before bedtime.
As I observed my son and told him that he was not managing his time wisely and he needed to allocate time for the things he really wanted to do, my words came round and hit me. I too was not allocating time for the things that I wanted to do. I too was not prioritising my day.
The truth about time
I had been blinded by a lie that I could fit everything in my schedule if I just tried hard enough. I bought into the deception of treat yo'self resulting in extra time wasted where it could be spent doing the essentials in life.
“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 1)
The truth is there is not only a time for everything, but a right time for it.
Prioritising does not mean that we need to only put our ministries and others first with ourselves last. It means we take care of ourselves well as temples that God lives in so that we could carry out His heart’s desires for people to know Him. Both come hand in hand as we prioritise our day.
Putting others solely before ourselves without properly looking after ourselves is not an act of selflessness but is contrarily rather selfish as we end up with burnouts. We start to dry up as we have emptied out our jars to help others without continuously filling up our own.
Focusing on self without thinking of others is basically not being a Christian. Nobody who is a follower of Christ can claim to follow Him without following what He does which is to love others.
And how we spend our time will reflect this. Before we say I don’t have time again, whether for ourselves or others, let us rethink our day and our priorities and what it is that we want to achieve each day.
Esther Koh is a stay-at-home mum living in Wellington with her husband and two sons. She loves people and has a passion for helping others find their purpose for living.
Esther Koh’s previous articles may be viewed at