This applies to so many things, including getting your work done each day. I often hear it in Discipleship and similar where people tell me they don’t have enough time to read a book or read the bible.
And yet, they manage to post dozens of things on Facebook. They may watch hours of TV. They may play hours of video games well into the night. They may spend hours at a nice restaurant or bar. People who “don’t have enough time” often have lots of time for other things.
So what’s that about? I’m not trying to shame anyone. The point is, most of us in this society have a LOT of available time. We choose to use it for entertainment. Is that wrong? Not necessarily! But isn’t it just a little hypocritical to say “I don’t have time?” It really is just a matter of choices.
I haven’t researched this, but have heard enough stories to believe it. When people lose power at their home for days in a row, they read more. Not sure if that’s great news or awful! Maybe it hints that we are lousy at controlling our own use of time and we need an outside influence.
Do you get to the end of the day and think that you didn’t get enough done? Or, maybe, you got a lot done, but it wasn’t the most important stuff.
Countless books have been written, speeches given, etc., on how to manage your time or otherwise get the right things done.
And plenty of talk about urgent vs. important. And the Truman Box. And planners and schedulers and reminders. How has that worked for you? (If you have a system that’s working well, please tell me. I’ll gladly cheer you on!)
Two big suggestions, which together will consume only a few minutes each morning and lead to a much more satisfied ending on the day:
Morning reflection. Just a minute or two: what matters today? If you can only get one thing done today, what would that be?
List your top TWO (and only two) priorities for the day and make sure you look at that short list all day long
Then, through the day, hold yourself accountable, or get someone else to help, to not do anything else until you get the priorities done. After that, do as much else as your heart desires. You know you’ve done the right things first, so that already makes for a great day.
People who know me well say that I’m disciplined, or structured, or ordered, or sometimes “Linear” (which is probably intended as an insult, but I like it!). And sometimes I’m frazzled. Things go well for me when I have a structure for them. And I like creating those structures.
The key for me (and probably there are others like me) is to:
Know what I need to do
Know when I need to do it
And maybe the odd part, have a place to do it!
So many things just work well when all three happen. And then there are the things I struggle with. Reading for instance. I love to read. I love what I learn when I read. And yet, I rarely read. Big DUH! I don’t have a specific time and place for it. Just thinking through the problem, I can solve this. Maybe it’s more complicated, but only a little. Reading is a “by myself” activity, and I read best when I step away from the computer (even though I love to take notes on the computer as I read).
There’s a great coffee shop up the road. Suddenly I have all the pieces.
A time and a place. So simple. Just takes intentionality!
This image is for a different purpose but it fits pretty well:
A few years ago, Perry Rhue and I were developing some material for a Career Ministry Presentation and we talked about the value of friendship. Kind of out of the blue, we added a graphic to our presentation. Almost silly.
We thought about this a few minutes, and decided not to use it in the presentation. But it caught our attention. That was about FIVE years ago. I continue to think on this. As I look around, this seems to hold true. Most people with good jobs (great jobs!) also have good friends. So, which comes first?
Is this perhaps the easiest job search solution ever? Develop good friends!
Many people who know me don’t know that I’m the son of a President of the United States. Amazing to think so many are so uninformed 🙂
A few years before his death, I was with my dad as he was talking to some people recounting experiences from Korea. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he tossed in ?Did you know I was the President of the United States for about 30 minutes?? What?! I thought ?this is it, he?s completely senile.? But no, he had a great story. While my dad was part of the armistice commission, President Eisenhower decided to visit Korea. My dad was planning to attend the parade where Eisenhower was going to be. Just as he was about to head out for this parade, my dad was approached by some of the presidential ?handlers,? looked over quickly, and they said something like ?you?ll be perfect for this job.? They asked him to put on a different jacket and hat (military) and ride in the back of an open convertible down a main street. He was given the great honor of ?being? the president! He rode down the street, smiling, waving, etc. He said it was much later (days, not hours) before he realized maybe that wasn?t such an honor 🙂 But it was still a good story.
What are we thankful for this year? To whom are we thankful? Looking back more than 200 years.
New York, 3 October 1789
By the President of the United States of America; a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor?and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be?That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks?for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation?for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war?for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed?for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted?for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions?to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually?to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed?to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord?To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us?and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
I’ve been noticing the words Faith, Belief, and Trust a lot lately. They are almost synonyms, but not quite. It’s easy to use one as part of a definition of another. I’m especially thinking about trust and the difference in the question “CAN I trust God?” and “DO I trust God?” Do they seem like the same question? Please hear me out.
You are probably familiar with the glass bottom bridges that are being built over some very deep gorges? Let me just say it, I respect the design and I’m happy for those who like the excitement of walking across them, but I’m not going to be joining you! It’s not that I don’t believe the glass is safe. I understand the engineering. I’m convinced that I could go out, along with a hundred other people, and jump up and down on that glass, and it would support me. I absolutely believe that. But I’m still not going out. Do I have a trust problem?
Maybe this is a bit like trusting God. I believe He can, and does, amazing things. I CAN trust God. 100%. But DO I? Hmmm. Maybe that’s how I should consider faith. When what I CAN trust and what I DO trust match perfectly, then I have complete faith.