Self-Reliance Principle 2: Use Time Wisely

“Time is all the capital stock there is on the earth. … If properly used, it brings that which will add to your comfort, convenience, and satisfaction” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 214).

Start Your Day Well

As you make a list of things to be done each day, think of how the Savior began His day: in prayer, in contemplation, and in service. When He had done these things, He could go about His work teaching.

Ask God to Help You Solve Your Problems

The brother of Jared took his problems to the Lord, and we can do the same. It might be a list of things we would like to accomplish for the day. Rather than pray for a solution right away, we might contemplate solutions ourselves first and then ask the Lord to confirm our decision.

Do the Most Important Things Today

It may seem like there is more to do in a day than we can accomplish, but if we take the time to work out our priorities and ask for the Lord’s blessing on our plan, He will bless us in our efforts. He can make up for our shortcomings.

Prepare for Your Day

Brigham Young organized himself while leading the Saints west. We can only imagine how grueling a task it was, but his faith was undaunted. He did everything he could to prepare the Saints spiritually and temporally by studying maps, collecting reports from explorers, and organizing the Saints into leadership battalions so that every person was accounted for. On the journey, each day began with prayers and devotionals. They set daily travel goals and prayed that the Lord would help them accomplish each goal. At the end of the day, each battalion leader reported in, knelt, and gave thanks to God. No doubt those Saints accomplished more than they thought they could. President Brigham Young explained it this way: “My faith is, when we have done all we can, then the Lord is under obligation, and will not disappoint the faithful; he will perform the rest” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 155).

Set Things in Order

The Lord has instructed the Church to be “a house of order” (D&C 109:8). Such order increases our faith and our capacity to be obedient, to seek the Lord’s help in all things, to do our part. Then as we set priorities and goals and pray for the Lord to bless us in our efforts, we can kneel at the end of the day and give thanks for the things we have accomplished and spend a moment in quiet contemplation, feeling His love.

Be Humble and Grateful

We know that personal revelation comes when we are humble. When we spend a moment at the end of a hard day’s work repenting of our mistakes, the Lord can speak thoughts to our minds. He may bring to mind somebody we need to serve the next day or ideas about how to improve. What is important is to listen to the Holy Ghost.

Listen to the Spirit and Act on Promptings

Elder Richard G. Scott said, “It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit” (“How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 46). So even though we have prayed and planned and set priorities and goals, we must listen to the Spirit as we go about our tasks. We may be surprised at impressions we get in the middle of the day. As we report to the Lord at the end of the day, we can express our feelings of gratitude for those impressions, for the little successes or the progress and for the opportunity to do it again the next day.

Time is a precious commodity. Let us learn to use it well by relying on the Lord to confirm our plans and bless our efforts.