“Try not to become a man of success.
Rather become a man of value.”
Yesterday , we talked about why to-do lists, especially lengthy and elaborate ones, fail us. Why they become the masters of our lives, rather than the other way around. It doesn’t really matter if it is on paper, on your computer desk-top, or an app on your smart phone.
What you do, whether you make a list or not, needs to have the realistic boundaries of time and value. What does that mean?
If you have a list, of say, 10 things, they do not all take the same amount of time to complete. And, no matter how you slice your day, there are still only 24 hours in any given day. So time must be allotted. Here is a link to a post about figuring out how you do, and how you can use your time.
Nor do all of the items on your list carry the same value for you. Some things are important for a short time, like a short-term project you need to get done at work. Some things are of value for a lifetime, like being the best parent you can summon up for your children. And, many, many, many things that we have on our lists, and rattling around in our heads, have no value at all. But we keep sticking them back on the list! Lots of these are on the “should” list. Things you feel you really “should” do, but haven’t. Because, quite frankly, you either don’t care enough to get it done, or not doing carries few or no consequences, or you cannot even remember why you “should” be doing it in the first place.
Most of us work for a living. Some for other, some for ourselves. And, time has a value of its own. It is an expensive coin to waste, because we cannot get it back.
Let’s look at a fairly typical scenario of how many mornings go:
Have you ever found yourself scrambling, looking for the right clothes, and discovering they are not work-ready? And, as if by magic, you are completely out of your favorite breakfast food. You look in your wallet to see if you have enough cash to cover your lunch and your daughter’s. Did you pick up the copies of your presentation? Silently asking yourself why your son is wearing a wrinkled T-shirt on picture day, which you just now remembered. And, where the devil are my keys? Finally, in the car, and wonder of wonders, you hit the rush hour, even though you thought you started out in time to beat it. Once again, sliding into your seat just under, or over the finish line. But, sadly, it is not the finish line, it is just the beginning of your day.
A successful work day, in my opinion, begins the night before.
It only takes a few minutes.
After dinner, I want you to mentally walk through tomorrow. If you have children, summon the troops. What’s on everyone’s agenda? Work? Special school event? A lunchtime talk? Picking up the kids from soccer practice? Drinks with friends after work? A long-overdue date with your significant other? Bible study? Bowling? I want you to think about the significant things that you need to get done tomorrow.
Write them down if you must, but, don’t panic. This all gets easier each day you practice. And, yes, it gets easier for everyone as it becomes a routine.
And, this is not a process of making a new list of things to do. You know what you need to get done. Set aside a time period for everyone to go get prepared.
Make a plan, not another checklist:
What’s for breakfast? Do we have what we need at home? If not, put it on the shopping list for another day and choose something else that you already have. My parents lived through the Great Depression. From them I learned to try to minimize my choices when I can. Yes, I have graduated between the two meal choices of “eat” or “don’t eat.” But, I have found that by limiting choices, it helps me save money and a lot of angst.
What is everyone wearing? Is it clean and pressed? Is it appropriate for the whole day, or will you need something else for later? If you have to change, will it be at work/ school or at home? Are those clothes ready?
What are the meal plans for the rest of the day? Trying to save money, so are you eating at the office? What are you eating, and is your lunch kit ready to roll? You have chosen your chosen food and drink from what you have available, and all you need do is to toss them in your lunch kit on your way out of the house. I actually leave my open, packed lunch-kit in the fridge overnight. All I need do is add is the ice-thing that keeps it chilled all day.
Buying? Do you have extra money? In your wallet?
Don’t have what you want? Put it on a shopping list, choose something else, and move on.
Briefcase, backpacks, purse. Homework done and in backpacks? Do you have the notes you need for your own presentation? If you need to use your own electronics, are they charged up and ready to go? Got cords? Have you packed the right laptop? Do you have a backup of your stuff on a thumb drive which you have put someplace easy to remember?
Review the day’s schedule, and let it go.
The goal is not to spend the rest of the evening fussing over it or picking at it. Check what you need, put it where it needs to be, move on.
Make a plan. Set it in motion. Move on.
Move on to resting and spending time with those you love and care for. This includes you! Do the things you value most, with the people you value most.
Affirmation, coming up …