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Image - Photo by Renzo D'souza on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/@renzods
When people ask me how I get certain things done, the response is often, "I work them into the cracks of my life between major commitments. Ironically, the things we do in those squeeze times are not always the least important, but sometimes the most.
Earthquake spasms create cracks in the surface of the earth and life spasms do the same in our schedules. That is why we can never be complacent and must always be aware of the landscape of our existence.
Because you have so much to accomplish and must make the best of every crack in your calendar (as I am doing at this very minute), I am going to offer some suggestions in my next few posts. The first is about lists:
ALWAYS HAVE AN UNFINISHED LIST!
If it gets finished without you adding to it, you are already behind and wasting time. Never let your list get empty. Always have something on it that you can be working on when an unexpected crack opens in your daily schedule.
Categorize your list; let it flow into multi-layers; give it thought; give it prayer; keep it with you.
That's all for now because the crack is closing around me and I have an appointment across town.
Then, a bit later, about that LIST!
When I make a to-do list, I am setting priorities, reserving (dedicating) time, committing myself to objectives, and more importantly, praying about my day because ...
"... many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21 - NIV)
To-do lists are almost always overly ambitious and yet, I often inflate the importance and difficulty of some of the things that i put on my list. As a procrastinator, I find some items keep showing up again and again when a little five minute effort could eliminate them forever.
How I develop my lists reveals much about what I value, how I think, and how effective I am at accomplishing my goals.
The wise teacher of Proverbs (21:5 - NIV) said that "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
So this is very a very important as well as entertaining territory.
Start with the Next 15 Minutes!
I asked some folks and I asked myself to identify 4 areas of our lives where we really needed to work. All dimensions of life were legitimate areas of concern.
I then asked for an hour a day in 4 - 15 minute slots to devote one of those slots to each of those areas.
It could be reading the scriptures or professional/personal development books, exercise, family time, or anything that just wasn't getting done - things most likely that need more than 15 minutes but areas where that would be a good start and a major improvement.
What difference could 15 minutes a day make in some area of your life?
I have been readjusting to changes in my life personally, in family responsibilities, and professionally and my posting activity has suffered.
Yet, this took about 5 minutes.
I still have 10 to go.
Here is a dilemma: You don't have large enough blocks of time to focus on your big projects. Everything is chopped up with what we have called cracks in time available. The cracks seem to small to allow accomplishments. On the other hand, you work so hard that when you get the big blocks, you are weary and wasteful with that time. Your body doesn't want to do what is necessary for you to dig in.
What will you do?
Well, there is down time and then, there is down time.
True down time is a good thing, is to be celebrated, and is to be sanctified. It is Sabbath and we all need it.
Remember it and keep it holy. That means separate and unique and uncluttered with worry and self-flagellation over how you ought to be using it to catch up. You ARE using it to catch up. Your body is replenishing its resources and your total being is renewing itself for future full engagement.
The other sort of down time is all in your head. It is not down time at all and needs to be redefined - I do that by spelling things out.
15 Minutes for Better Health
I have been applying the 15 Minute Challenge to my health in several dimensions.
Along with the major changes in my life it had started to become apparent to me that I needed to do something about my body's condition or (A) die young or (B) become an invalid. (B) sounded worse than (A) and neither sounded good.
So I took several steps and one of them was to start using my gym membership more effectively.
I know the kinds of workouts we need for maximum aerobic effect, but I also knew I had to start somewhere - and I did - 15 minutes - a little of this, a little of that, a little of the other, and a lot of hot tub.
It is a start. Now I am up to a longer workout and feeling positive results.
Don't let starting slow or with inadequate resources stop you from starting at all.
Whatever you are working on in whatever area of your life, how you allocate your time for it will be a major predictor of your success.
Read In the Cracks.
Read The Squeeze.
And Thinking Time!