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I remember one day standing in their hallway waiting for him to come downstairs and, amid some innocuous small talk, my friend’s mother said something that has really stayed with me. It was a perfect example of the mentoring that comes from having significant adults in your life growing up. She said: “Well, you always make time for the things you truly want to do.”

It was like a lightbulb came on. If you really want to do something you’ll find a way to make time for it. Or on the converse side, if you’re not doing something that you would say was important to you, either you’re not actually as keen as you think or something is stopping you that is stronger than your desire to do it.

There’s a subconscious filter on how we spend our time and all too often the wrong priorities prevail – we choose to do things that bring quickest reward and gratification.

This is why we sometimes choose to procrastinate by playing Candy Crush over finishing that assignment! We might say reading our Bible is really important to us but I’m sure we all choose to check our Facebook or Instagram first.

I would urge you to do a little soul searching about this – first off for your own benefit, but then (as with all your mentoring) so that you can enable your mentee along a similar journey.

 

WITH YOUR MENTEE

Ask your mentee to look at how they spend their time to understand better what their real priorities are. Go through the last week – list all activities and together try to spot what they care about most. If they’re spending inordinate amounts of time (and money) on something maybe there’s an emphasis there that you should bring before God? Are you sleeping too much? Are naps your escapism? How often and how long do you spend looking at your phone? List what you look at and do on it. You’ll need to be brutally honest about it all together! Go on to discuss these questions:

  • What are the three things that you really want to do ‘if you had more time?’ Choose just one thing to tackle
  • What is stopping you from getting to these things? Think both in terms of time but also in your motivation, effort levels and commitment.
  • Do you prioritise urgent but unimportant things over these important things? What three things can you do to recognise this and overturn it when necessary?

Reassure your mentee not to beat themselves up about it but be positive, recognising this itself is the first step to finding creative solutions. Ask the right questions so that they can see why they behave as they do, but don’t offer solutions. Rather ask the right questions so they think of creative ideas themselves, even if it takes time.