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Finding Balance
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How do I balance homework, friends, God, and family?

Shayna Answers: Oh, the dilemma of time management! Juggling responsibilities can be a challenge, but being a good steward of the time that God has given us means learning how to manage it responsibly.

Something that you may find helpful is investing in an organizer of some sort. There are many types available, ranging from electronic handhelds to traditional pocket-sized books. I like using a large wall calendar that I can write meetings, assignments, and social events on in different colors. It helps me to see everything I have going on that day, and it helps me plan ahead, too, since I can see the whole month at once. Choose whatever type of organizer that’ll be the most effective for you.

Until you feel as if you’ve got a handle on everything, try dividing your day into slots of time. Some organizers actually make divisions by the hour, which could make this process a bit easier. Pick an appropriate wake-up time, and factor in 30 minutes to an hour to spend in devotional time before you have to leave for school. After you get home, allot two to four hours for homework, depending on how much you have to do. Of course, if you’re in sports or extra-curricular activities, you’ll have to adjust your time as necessary.

The Balancing Act

If you’re involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities, try to use your spare time to your advantage. For example, you can use time you spend riding the bus or waiting for your ride to start doing your homework. I know this sounds incredibly annoying and not fun at all, but the 30 minutes of work that you accomplish during this time will leave you 30 minutes more relaxation, phone, or sleep time later on in the evening. Basically, try to utilize your minutes of wasted time throughout the day.

If you force yourself to adhere to a schedule for a few weeks, it’ll become much easier to manage everything as the schedule becomes more natural to you. Also, you’ll relieve a lot of your stress about not being able to balance everything once you’re more organized. Of course, everything won’t always fit into the schedule, so you’ll have to prioritize. You’ll need to ask yourself, What’s the most important thing I have to do? Then act accordingly.

It’s easy to forget that time is a gift from God as much as any other worldly possession we have, although we’ve all heard the expression “time is money.” Luke 16:10, 11 talk about worldly wealth. Those verses say, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. . . . So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldy wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

Like almost everything else, God gave us a model to follow for balancing work and rest/devotion in the creation story. Do your best to manage your social and academic responsibilities, but make sure that time with God is the first activity of your day. Surrendering your stresses about how to handle everything and making sure that you give your time to God first is the best way to manage the gifts and responsibilities that He’s entrusted to you.

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By Shayna Bailey. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine Online. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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