Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith



Today’s potential

It is true that some get more out of their 60 minutes in the hour than others.

What makes you more likely to reach today’s potential is directly related to how you put your time to use. You see, time is life.  When we let time ‘pass by’, life sails on by with it.  Time is a non-renewable commodity.  It is more important than energy and more valuable than money.

To manage time, I have learnt that sometimes slower is actually faster.

Preparation may seem like a slower process than just getting stuck in and doing it.  However, planning your approach can actually save hours of wasted trial and error.

Whenever I am preparing for a holiday, I spend time planning as much as I can.  I prefer to arrive departure card completed as well as knowing my plan for transit from the airport so I can start enjoying a new city.

Planning isn’t a kill-joy, it actually allows you more time to be spontaneous.

In making the most of time, learn to do the shuffle.   Shuffle things around to best make use of time available.

If you’re a morning person, don’t leave your most draining tasks until late at night.  Use your time to your advantage.

When I was working in Auckland CBD, if I left home half an hour earlier, it saved me almost an hour in peak-hour traffic.  Instead of wasting time in transit, I organised my life to leave earlier and use that time on the other end for meditation before starting my work day.  I could literally save time by planning well.

Psalm 90: 10-12 says, ‘Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away… Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

I hope today that we may make the most of our time, as men and women with hearts of wisdom.

Being efficient is doing things with excellence in the least amount of time.  Being effective is knowing which things to do efficiently.  Doing the wrong things efficiently is not the most effective use of time.

It can be as simple as working out what you value.

When you decide that, it will help you prioritise your time.   Values help you determine what’s important and therefore make the tough calls when they need to be made.  The word “no” is a powerful time management tool.

Using time well is a way of honouring the important in your life, the people around you and the values you live by.

Right use of the right time for the right purpose brings about right outcomes.

Are there phone calls you can make in transit instead of when you are with other people?  Could a phone call save you driving across town for a meeting? Or could you strategically organise your meetings near each other?

I would encourage you to do the mundane, routine tasks which require less energy when your energy is low or you’re tired, not during your most valuable times or when you have the highest energy levels.

When I was coaching a young married couple, they were frustrated that they had no time off to have fun.  What time they did get off, they spent doing chores – washing, cleaning the house etc.

I encouraged them to learn to shuffle based on what they valued (i.e. time together).  They could steal slices of time on weeknights, for example, ironing on Monday, vacuuming on Wednesday, washing on Friday.  You would be amazed at how it freed up the large block of time they wanted for their weekend.

Just a few of my thoughts on harnessing today’s potential.


Time to have your best year yet

I love watches.  I enjoy browsing the latest styles and checking antique shops for special designs.

The challenge of a watch is that it is circular, giving you the illusion that if you wait long enough this time will come around again.

The reality is that time is linear, in so much as it is more of a straight ongoing line, and it only moves forward, it does not stop and it does not replay.

As we are swept into this new year, time is something on many of our minds: we look back and we look forwards. But do we pause long enough to look at right now, this moment, this minute?

John Lennon wrote the lyrics:
“Before you cross the street take my hand.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

In the same vain, Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

In order to embrace this moment, I think we do need to stare time in the face, including what has been and what may come.

In one sense, we need to let go of the time that has passed, let bygones be bygones. In another sense, the past is not dead at all – it has shaped us and made us, to a certain degree, who we are. We must deal with the past effectively if we are to live in the present happily.

We should also take time to dream, consider and prepare for the possibilities of what the future may hold. The future can give us hope for a better tomorrow and the possibility for change, if we are careful about the time that can be planned.

Time that is now

Today is all we have: “now” is the acceptable time. Although we live in this present reality, are we attentive to this present moment?

One of the byproducts of being given a shortened life expectancy is that you try and slow time down by savouring experiences.  It makes you increasingly aware of the 1,440 minutes allocated to each of us per day.  I think I am now more present in the moment, taste my meals, listen more carefully and experience the beauty of the moment.

It’s the difference between just eating a strawberry, and tasting a strawberry.  I encourage you to taste the strawberries this 2014!

To have a successful new year, simply string together a chain of successful months.  To have a successful month, string together a chain of successful hours: a chain of “now” moments.  For now is the time:

  • to apologise
  • to forgive
  • to make a change
  • to give thanks
  • to encourage
  • to pray
  • to choose love

The best thing that we can do to honour our past and prepare for our future is to live with everything we have in the present. This is your “Now” moment!


Watching the fireworks at Nelson Bay New Year's Eve. My friend Bruce to the left and Lenore to the right.
Watching the fireworks at Nelson Bay New Year’s Eve. My friend Bruce to the left and Lenore to the right.

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