Time Management

We never have enough time. But there is a verse in the Bible that talks to this. Although this isn’t easy to spot:

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

In my secular job, counting days leads to wisdom as follows.

A project schedule is a document that literally counts days for each tasks. But it does more than this. The process of creating a schedule forces a team to think carefully about the work that they will embark on, what needs to happen when, in what order, how things will integrate or come together and how long each task will take. Together an overall time frame for the project is then established. It forces a clarification of the project goals and scope of work to make sure nothing is forgotten. The process of creating a schedule also forces clarification of what complete means – what quality and performance metrics are going to be measured and when to help ensure progress to plan, and to ensure agreement at the end that the team has completed their work. Further, when done correctly, a review of each task leads to an identification of the resources needed – people and equipment – which in turn provides a cost estimate for the project. Other dependencies and items to be procured in advance are also identified with their costs as well as a set of concerns raised of all the things that could go wrong. A risk table for example.

So numbering days leads to an assessment of the requirements and goals, an overall project duration, an overall project cost, an identification of all resources needed, the key performance and progress metrics to track, all the dependencies required as well as a set of concerns that help set expectations for the project.

The best project managers will then also agree a communications plan with the team, and will also ensure that everyone who has a stake and interest in the project is appropriately informed and involved in the decision making processes as required.

Thus derived are the knowledge areas from the Project Management Book of Knowledge as published by the Project Management Institute: Project Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Resource, Communications, Quality, Risk, Procurement and Stakeholder Management. This secular book is literally a collection of common wisdom, considered to be applicable to most projects most of the time.

Thus counting days leads to wisdom. Many of do this all our lives.

I am sure that the Psalmist did not have this application in mind when writing this verse. This is after all a prayer that recognizes the short time frame that we have on earth, that accepts the humility of being here for a finite time, that asks for help in examining our lives and ensuring that we make the best use of our time for Him.

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