Do distractions seem to keep you from accomplishing all that you want to do in a day? If you are like most people, you have great intentions each morning but by the end of the day, the “To Do” List could be renamed the “Most of This Didn’t Happen” List. How can we live each day more intentionally and experience a sense of satisfaction when we finally slip into bed each night? Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of each day:
- Start each day with prayer. Before you hit the ground running, hit the ground on your knees. Find a quiet place where you can be alone, even for a few minutes, to seek God’s direction and ask for His leading throughout the day. Always begin with adoration, praising God for who He is and thanking Him for all He has done. Bring your needs, cares and worries before Him. Confess your sins to Him. Ask His Spirit to guide you and help you discern what is worth doing and what is a waste of time.
- Set boundaries with your distractions. We all have different things that tug and pull us away from what we need to accomplish, so the first way to fight distractions is to identify them. What are yours? Is it a co-worker who always wants to talk or gossip? Is it Instagram or facebook? Perhaps notifications or emails? Write out your top five distractions, and then make a wise plan as to how you can set a boundary for each one. Perhaps it is closing your door during certain working hours or only allowing yourself to look at Instagram at lunch time or turning off notifications on your phone. Only you know the best solution to your distractions, so think deliberately about how to conquer each one.
- Plan your day the night before. At the end of each day, make a detailed plan for the next day. Write down activities such as Prayer Time, workout and meals. Create a schedule and a plan of action for the meetings, errands and work that needs to get done. Certainly we all need to be flexible as plans may change or things may take longer than you expect, but writing down your plan allows you to wake up each morning knowing what you need to do and ready to do it. It also helps you sleep better at night, since you are not worrying or trying to remember all that needs to be done.
- Choose three priorities for each day. As you look over your plan in the morning, choose three items that are essential or most important for the day. Circle them and concentrate on getting those three activities done by the end of the day. Typically, three daily priorities are doable and easy to remember. Plus, by the end of the day you will feel a sense of accomplishment that you checked off the most important things on your list. Whatever you didn’t do by the end of the day, can go on your plan for the next day but at least you know you covered your priorities.
- Set aside power half–hours. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a half-hour if you set your mind to it. Use a timer. I typically use an old kitchen timer because the ticking helps me stay on target. I choose not to use my phone timer, since the phone itself is a huge distraction. If you need to get a task accomplished, set the timer for 30 minutes and plunge full-focused into your task. No distractions allowed. After your power half-hour, take a break, walk around, check to make sure you didn’t miss any important calls. Then schedule another power half-hour for the next priority task at hand.
Try these five simple tips. Make them into a new habit for the new year and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you are seizing each day with intentionality and purpose.