Stewardship of Time: Effective Decision Making With P-Squares

Stewardship of time is essential for effective decision making and stress reduction. Still, stewardship of time is not a popular phrase. Stewardship of time does seem to be important to most folks. Yet, when we ignore our stewardship of time, we allow events to lead us.

About twenty years ago, in my quest to improve my effectiveness, I tried to boost the process I followed to decide. I accepted the fact that daily I would have more to do than I could handle. Therefore, under God’s guidance, I challenged me to find a process to decide more speedily.

I realized that before deciding I looked through worldly eyes at available time, talents, and likely outcomes. Usually, these decision-elements stymied me. They caused me to focus too long on how likely results. I was concerned with success. In fact,  sometimes I spent days on these matters. I became indecisive and delayed decisions.

Stewardship of Time and P-Squares Decision Process

As a senior executive with a heavy air-travel schedule in a multi national corporation, I had many daily decisions. I prayed continually for a solution to my challenge, and recorded and dissected my decisions.

Stewardship of Time: Effective Decision Making With P-Squares
Stewardship of Time: Effective Decision Making With P-Squares

Later, I developed the P-Squares Decision Process (P-Squares) and included it in my book Managing God’s Time: Personal Effectiveness Improvement.. Each square, each ‘P,’ has a specific purpose. The first three, parameters, priorities, principles happen before you decide. They are attitudes to apply to each decision. The fourth, PEACE Effectiveness Process (PEACE), shows how you intend to do decisions.

P-Squares’ prime purpose is to help carry out decisions well under God’s guidance. Particularly, it aids focus on the important rather than the urgent. It helps to reduce daily stress. And it allows Jesus to shine as you do your decisions.

Applying P-Squares consistently will result in the following:

  1. You develop and maintain a positive attitude as you perform each activity.
  2. Before starting each project, you count the cost of achieving its objectives with available resources. Therefore, you gain confidence on the journey.
  3. You rarely overcommit to projects because you understand reasonably well, the full implications before starting.
  4. You reduce or eliminate likely negative effects on relationships and existing projects when you undertake each new activity.
  5. You apply Bible principles in each project.

Until you become comfortable with the P-Squares, it seems hard and time consuming. However, once you realize what it means, you will notice you can apply it regularly.

The first two ‘Ps,’ parameters and principles, refer to attitudes you develop and maintain in life. They show how you should behave always. You don’t change behaviour based on the size or importance of decisions–large or small. Your views of the four parameters, success, time, work, today, should never change. They are fixed. Neither should the four principles of the P-Squares: GAS Principle, Neighbor Principle, Destination Principle, and Journey Principle.

What about the other two ‘Ps,’ priorities and PEACE? Before you decide to do anything, you need to think about the effects on your priorities. Having a cup of coffee might be a small deal. However, what if when you decide to have that cup of coffee it causes you to miss an appointment? Or, to ignore a request from your spouse to be home earlier? You need to train you so that priorities, parameters, and principles become instinctive so you can apply them in a few minutes before you decide.

The fourth ‘P,’ PEACE, is different. Its focus is on stewardship. It stresses God’s goals and His supporting plans, which you discover before you act. As you progress to the goal, PEACE reminds you to check how you are doing, and as needed to execute changes to get back on track for the goal.

Stewardship of time needs dependence on the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to give you the discipline to follow P-Squares. Stewardship of time is not about ‘time management.’ It is about a closer walk with the Lord as His child and steward of time, talent, money, and all resources.

Copyright © 2013, Michel A. Bell

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Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell is a former senior business executive, author of five books, speaker, and adjunct professor of business administration at Briercrest College and Seminary. He is founder and president of Managing God's Money, a private mission devoted to teaching biblical stewardship of time, talent, money and other resources. Visit Managing God's Money

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