Regaining Focus Pt. 2 :: Tell Your Time What to Do

January 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Last week, I started a short post series called ‘Regaining Focus’.  As it relates to my relationships, creative pursuits, and even spiritual growth, it’s a topic I can’t seem to get enough of these days.

This follow-up post is so simple, it’s almost boring. It’s so practical that it’s easy to dismiss. This post isn’t inspirational per se, but is a habit I found will sustain inspiration.

Once we do the long work of deciding what and who in our life we want to say “Yes” to, it’s important that those decisions are reflected in the way we navigate our days.

It’s the principle that what gets scheduled is what gets done. A phrase common in the world of personal productivity, but also true for anyone who wants to protect the things and people who are most important to them. It’s about ordering our days to make sure the main things stay the main things.

Schedule

Photo by shadowkill, Creative Commons.

The practice of a putting together a weekly schedule should not be an exercise that sucks the life and mystery out of each day. Again, the idea smells “business-y”, so it’s easy to write off as irrelevant to creatives and dreamers. But it’s purpose is to make sure the most important tasks and relationships get tended to. It’s a chance to tell our time what to do rather than let our days just happen to us.

When we don’t live with a measure of intentionality, we tend to go the path of least resistance. And unfortunately, the path of least resistance usually has nothing to do with our ambitions, callings, desires, and “Yes’s”.

It’s the very reason that as I sit down to write this post I’m fighting the temptation to check Facebook every 3 minutes and open up my email to see what’s new and exciting. I mysteriously have a desire to go feed the fish, make my bed, and get the oil changed in my car. When it comes time for us to do what matters, it’s funny how we get motivated to do anything else besides the one thing we should be doing.

The same happens in our relationships. It seems like on the nights I set aside to spend time with my family, several other opportunities arise that involve taking me away from the people who matter most to me. As a pastor, it is difficult to make time for everyone who needs it. Everyone matters, but I’m forced to choose who matters more and make sure they stay on my schedule.

So, how do we get started?

The one tool that has been incredibly helpful for me in this area is Michael Hyatt’s “My Ideal Week” worksheet. You can read his post, and download a free Excel spreadsheet that organizes the rhythms and flows of each day. On this worksheet, each day has a theme and certain activities scheduled out. This is a way to make sure the important things are not ignored.

My Ideal Week

Created by Michael Hyatt.

I’ll be honest…I geek out on this stuff. I recognize that spreadsheets and schedules are not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s more natural for many people (especially artists and creatives) to live each day by instinct and it can feel unnatural to “over-schedule” each day. But this discipline is not about being rigid. It’s about protecting your passions and staying on course.

Here are some items in my daily & weekly rhythms:

  • Physical Exercise (cardio & strength training)
  • Prayer, worship, & Bible reading
  • Email and social media
  • Vinelife meetings and projects
  • Writing time
  • Resound projects
  • Family time
  • Key Friendships
  • House Church nights

Planning out your ideal week gives you permission to focus on the things that really matter and ignore the things that don’t. I believe that if we want to be the type of people who chase down our dreams and care for the people we love, we all need to live with this type of intentionality.

So tell me…
Was this helpful for you?
Do already have a plan for an ideal week?

Regaining Focus Pt. 1 :: What Are You Saying “Yes” To?
Regaining Focus Pt. 2 :: Tell Your Time What to Do
Regaining Focus Pt. 3 :: Eliminate Distractions

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