Lesson 49: Using Time Wisely

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 178–81


Each young man will understand the importance and benefits of using time wisely and will learn how to organize his time to use it productively.


  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      A piece of paper and a pencil for each young man.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    Prepare a clock face on a poster. Print Time Is Life; Don’t Waste It across the face.

  3. 3.

    Make a poster or list the five elements of the efficiency expert’s advice on the chalkboard (see the sample on page 179).

  4. 4.

    Practice the object lesson using an empty bottle or jar, small rocks, and sand so that you can take the proper amount of rocks and sand to class.

  5. 5.

    Prayerfully study Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 and Alma 34:32.

Suggested Lesson Development

Importance of Our Time on Earth

Poster, scripture, and discussion

Display the poster of the clock face.

Explain that Alma tells us something very important about our time here upon the earth. Ask the young men to silently study and mark Alma 34:32.

  • What is the main purpose of our time here upon the earth? (To prepare to meet God.)

Ask the young men to think about people they know.

  • From what these people do with their time, does it seem that they believe this scripture and are really trying to prepare to meet God?

  • Would other people watching you recognize that you are preparing to meet God?

  • Would a person seriously preparing to meet God eliminate from his life all forms of fun and recreation?

To Everything There Is a Season

Adviser presentation

Explain that our earth life is designed for our growth and development. The human child develops best when he is exposed to a variety of experiences. These experiences should be ordered in some way so that they best serve the needs of the developing child. The Lord similarly intends for us to have many different experiences in their proper time and order.

Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

A poetic passage of scripture found in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes explains the order the Lord has provided for us. Ask a young man to read Ecclesiastes 3:1–8.

  • What can we learn from these verses about the wise use of our time?

  • What has the Lord said about the order of these things? (He has suggested that events have an appropriate season in which to occur. For example, he said there is a time to love and embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. We are taught by our present leaders to wait for marriage until we have served a mission and are prepared to meet the responsibilities of marriage.)

  • Suppose that you are told you have only a week left to live. What are some things that you would do during that precious time?

Give the young men some time to respond. List their responses on the chalkboard. You may wish to list their responses in order of importance.

Wise Use of Time Requires Planning

Object lesson

Show the empty bottle. Explain that it represents a twenty-four-hour day.

Ask the young men to name activities they would really enjoy doing during a day. These activities might include recreation or other activities. As they mention several things, pour the sand into the jar.

Then ask the young men to list some things they should do during a normal day. These might include schoolwork, chores around the home, and scripture study. As each activity is mentioned, add rocks until the jar is full.

Explain that there are still several rocks to be added, but the bottle, or day, is full. Remove the rocks, and pour the sand back into its original container.

Explain that we should do the most important things first. Begin the object lesson again, this time by placing the rocks in first. As you place each rock in the bottle, mention one of the things we need to do each day, such as scripture study, prayers, schoolwork, and chores. Explain that by ordering our lives we can still find time to have fun and participate in recreational activities. Add the sand representing these activities to the jar.

Chalkboard, story, and discussion

Tell the following story:

Once an efficiency expert approached the president of a large steel corporation and outlined his firm’s services. “It’s no use,” the president responded. “I’m not managing as well as I know how to now. We need more action, not more knowing. If you could get us to do what we know we should, I’d pay you anything you ask.”

“Fine,” answered the consultant. “I can give you something in a few minutes to increase your action 50 percent. First, write on a blank sheet the six most important tasks you have to do tomorrow. Second, put them in order of their importance. Third, pull the sheet out the first thing tomorrow morning and begin working on item one. Fourth, when you finish it, do item two, then item three. Do this until quitting time. Don’t worry if you finish only two or three, or even if you finish only one item. You’ll be working on the most important ones first. Fifth, take the last five minutes of each working day to make out a new list for the next day’s tasks.”

Display the poster or refer to the chalkboard listing the efficiency expert’s advice:

Efficiency Expert’s Advice

  1. 1.

    Write down the six most important tasks to be performed.

  2. 2.

    Place these items in order of importance.

  3. 3.

    Begin working on number one in the morning.

  4. 4.

    When number one is completed, go to number two, and so forth.

  5. 5.

    Each evening make a new list to be used the next day.

  • How can we involve Heavenly Father in our planning? (Pray and ask for his help in using our time well and in determining priorities.)

Writing activity

Give a pencil and a piece of paper to each young man. Have them divide their papers into three columns, labeling the first column “Must Do,” the second “Should Do,” and the third “Would Like to Do.” Instruct them to write under the heading “Must Do” the things they must do tomorrow, under the heading “Should Do” the things they ought to do, and under the heading “Would Like to Do” the things they would enjoy doing. Explain that these are similar to the things identified in the object lesson. Ask the young men to number the items in the last two columns according to importance, since these are the activities they can control.


  • What ill effects might result from planning to do too much with our time? (Fatigue, frustration, stress, and anxiety; doing a poor job with many things instead of a good job with a few things.)

Emphasize the need for the young men to plan their time wisely so that they are able to accomplish all they need and want to do.

Effective Use of Time Brings Spiritual and Temporal Blessings


Explain that some of the greatest blessings we can have come from serving others. Read the following letter written to a Scoutmaster by one of his former Scouts, one whose family had been less active in the Church. It illustrates the blessings that can come from Church service:

Dear Ron,

Think hard and you may remember who I am—one of the many Eagle Scouts that you have produced. I have started to write my personal history with a theme that revolves around how I discovered a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I began to write several months ago, I began to reflect on those who have helped me in my commitment to the gospel. Your name was the first to come to mind. I have thanked our Father in Heaven many times for the charity that you showed me in those important years of my life.

You truly loved your Scouts and spent your time encouraging us and teaching us how to be men. It once occurred to you that I might be good at fastening or tying rope, so you encouraged me to be the best in camp. I tried hard and reached that goal.

I also remember the phone calls that you made to encourage me to work on my merit badges. Then finally it occurred to me that I could become an Eagle Scout. A few weeks after moving from Utah to California I did receive the Eagle Scout Award.

My activity in the Church was greatly influenced by you.

I have served a mission and am now attending Brigham Young University, studying to become a civil engineer. I am currently employed by the Missionary Training Center as a coordinator of Spanish teachers. I love my work and school and a girl whom I would like you to meet someday. Thanks Ron.


Explain that while he was a Scoutmaster, Ron had a wife, a family, and a full-time job.

  • How do you think Ron found time for his work with the Scouting program? (He had to organize his time wisely.)

  • Why was working with the Scouts such a meaningful way to use his time? (He was helping God’s children, which is the best use of time there is.)

  • What are ways an Aaronic Priesthood holder can use his time in helping God’s children?

  • What are some of the ways young and old alike waste time? (By watching television excessively, being preoccupied with fun, or sleeping too much.)



Explain to the young men that it is important for them to prepare now by learning how to organize their time in order to prepare to give effective service. Mention that priorities may change daily in some things and that long-range goals must be reevaluated periodically. If we are living by the Spirit, we will know when to make such adjustments.


Challenge the young men to try the efficiency expert’s advice for two weeks to see if they can accomplish more in a day. Encourage them to pray to Heavenly Father as they set daily goals either the night before or each morning so they can have his help in setting and accomplishing their goals. Then they should report the results to him at night.