Enjoying the Journey
I am happy that in the early years of my life and ministry I was put in a position where there was more to get done than there was time. Hard work never hurt anyone and my pastor was right when he told me that most people never become what they could because no one was ever hard on them. God’s servant said it this way, “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27).
Through the years I have had to learn how my own mind works and when I am most productive. Through observation, instruction, and plenty of trial and error I have had to discover how to make my time count. If you are going to do much you will have to have your own journey in this way.
Every day I continue to be instructed about how to accomplish the most with the one life I have…and the one day I am living at the time. Permit me to share a few rules that I have tried to follow. Perhaps they will help you to get more done…
- Do something you can accomplish as you start your day. Finish something! It may be small but it will help you gain some momentum as you begin the day’s work.
- Take on the hard tasks first. We all tend to put off those projects that are most difficult, but it is better to attack them when you are fresh. Give your best energy and first effort to the challenging needs. You will be glad you did later in the day.
- Work on the larger jobs a little every day. You can’t do it all today – but you can do something! Keep pushing forward, one step at a time. Move the ball a little closer to the goal.
- Write it down. I live by lists. When you write it down it helps you not to forget and it encourages you to prioritize. You will also find that as you make notes on what needs to get done you will think of other things you had not yet considered. I used to quote to my students often, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.”
- Set aside blocks of time for specific things. If it is important, then you need to put it into your regular schedule. Nothing (and I mean nothing) just happens. Be intentional about your work.
- One thing at a time. Years ago I attended a workshop with a group of fellow workers. The room was filled with professional people of all walks, accomplished administrators who prided themselves on “getting it done.” When the speaker walked to the front he simply wrote on the board these words: MULTI-TASKING IS WORSE THAN A LIE. Remember he was speaking to those of us who imagined that we were multi-taskers! He then asked us to write the statement and go back and write a number under each letter. Each person was timed. Then, just to prove his point, he asked us to write the statement again and the numbers. The second time we were to write one letter and then a number until both were completed. Almost to a person it took twice as long. I will never forget what he taught that day: there really is no such thing as multitasking. The human brain doesn’t work that way. Really we are just “switch-tasking” and every time we switch we lose time and waste energy. One thing at a time.
- Ask God to guide your work. I saved this for last not because it is least, but because it is most important. If you will ask the Lord to order your thoughts, your words, and your work you will get much more done. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He really will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Psalm 90, Moses’ prayer and the oldest psalm in the Bible, gives each of us a good prayer for our lives: “And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” May God give you strength and much fruit for your labor today!