Time is a mind-boggling concept. The scriptures reveal that our time and God's time are greatly different. We obsess over it, because we know that our earthly time is a gift. Most of us are appreciative of this gift, understanding that each day on earth is precious and can be taken away at any moment. However, with so many distractions and things to do, we usually do not use our time wisely.
The Lord advised us, "Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways" (D&C 75:29). We can be more diligent by being better organized, not being lazy, and quitting our addictions to less important things. I believe that last one is vital. Most of us do not struggle with excessive laziness--we are very busy and deserve the few breaks we get. I think the biggest problem we must overcome is dedicating our time to things that don't deserve it.
In Conference of October 1979, before Facebook and YouTube and "Lost," Elder William R. Bradford said regarding time, "If you have a twenty-hour-a-week television habit and would repent and convert it into a gospel-study habit, in one year you could read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the entire Bible. In addition, you could read Jesus the Christ, The Articles of Faith, Gospel Principles, the basic priesthood manual, the basic women’s manual, the basic children’s manual, all three volumes of Doctrines of Salvation, The Miracle of Forgiveness, The Promised Messiah, and Essentials in Church History, and could then reread the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. This would still leave time to read the Ensign, the New Era, and the Friend each month and the Church News each week. This is based on your ability to read only ten pages an hour. The average person can read twenty pages or more an hour. If you are average, this leaves you with ten hours a week to govern yourself in other kingdom-building activities, such as keeping a personal journal, genealogy and temple work, improved home teaching, welfare services, civic and patriotic involvement to protect our freedom, and much more."
What an eye-opening statement! We have no right to complain about diminishing spirituality and happiness when it is a result of our own poor time management. We must give our salvation, which includes family and Church, first priority. This means more than just working on it first; we also have to give it its fair share of time. The scriptures command us to (see D&C 60:13, 2 Nephi 9:27, and D&C 88:124), and we covenanted in the temple to dedicate our time and talents to building up the kingdom. We need to measure an activity's importance by its relevance to that commandment and covenant. If we do, we will find greater peace and enjoyment in life.
Challenge: Find something to help you manage your time better: use a planner, have weekly family council, get up or go to bed earlier, limit your TV or computer time using a timer or alarm clock, pray for strength, etc.