Before I asked the staff to tackle something on each of their to-do lists they’ve been putting off, I wanted to make sure I had done that myself.
Now that I’ve checked off a few items, I’ll be working with each team member to do the same and thought you might like to join us in the effort.
Most of us have at least one item that needs attention but will require a significant amount of time and energy or is beyond our current knowledge base so we’ll have to do some research to understand the next steps needed.
Whatever the reason we are putting off a specific task likely comes down to a sense of being overwhelmed, that we aren’t sure where to start or we dread the actions required.
In some cases, the next step requires an uncomfortable conversation, taking the first step toward an attempt at reconciliation or acknowledging our part (or lack of participation) in a situation made it worse.
It takes discipline, determination and courage to isolate the intimidating project and go after it. We may need help too, which could become another stumbling block if our pride gets in the way.
And then there’s the assessment of what doesn’t get done today, this week or this month in order to take care of those items lurking in the back of our minds.
If you’re like me, then you know the freedom and relief that follows finally taking care of a dreaded experience.
And you’re probably better than I am at using that knowledge to spur you to action more quickly each time you face another unwelcome or discouraging pursuit.
Sometimes the task at hand is merely redistributing our time to coach, mentor or train up those for which we are responsible.
Ignoring the opportunity to help others grow not only stalls their growth and development, but also prevents us from discovering the next steps of growth waiting for us.
If you have found a way to always face and accomplish the difficult tasks that surface, then we would love to hear your stories and suggestions. Please call, email or write us at your convenience.
For the rest of us, we can share what we are learning from mentors and life experience.
Pacing our schedules
My focus requires split vision at the moment — looking ahead while also constantly tidying up my existing list. As soon as tomorrow arrives, today will be the past, so it never really stops.
Seeking God’s guidance on the who, what, when and where always assures time, energy and resources will be provided.
A basic routine from day to day and week to week also seems to help keep us on track, but it’s important to build in flexibility and margin to be available to pivot when an unexpected God moment surfaces.
And if we think about those lingering projects on the to-do list as debt remaining on a past-due account, then it’s a little easier to commit to clearing the debt by a certain date and selecting one older item per week to accomplish.
The temptation will always be to tackle a more current item sitting on the list and continue pushing the oldest items back down the list, but taking a deep breath and going after one of those aging members of the list might provide the motivation needed to catch them all up.
A note of caution, however. Creating a world where we are super organized and able to clear our to-do lists easily and quickly could actually lead to an obsession with structure and schedules — to a point where it is idolized.
As with the goal of restricting what we put on our lists to provide a reasonable pace of daily living — everything in moderation — the focus on that goal should also be fluid enough to adapt when necessary (Eccles. 3:1–8; 1 Cor. 6:12).
‘A time for everything and a season for every activity’
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
—Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (NIV)