Waste Not


We’ve all been there.

The day starts.  We blink.  And the day’s over.  Twenty-four hours, packed full of essentially nothing of significance.

So how do we avoid wasted days?  How do we lay our head on our pillow content with the investment of our time and energy throughout the day?

1. Invest in a regular quiet time (i.e. thinking, prayer, contemplation)

The frenetic pace of life demands a calm center.  The best thinking isn’t done on your feet but sitting still.  So turn off the media.  Get up early before the noise starts.  Think about your day.  Live it in your mind before you live it out.  Unload your concerns.  Ask God to direct the steps you take.

Read something inspiring.  Be quiet.  Think.  Now mark it down, this will be hard at the beginning. Because a wild mind takes a while to tame.  But keep doing it over and over.

2. Exercise

Don’t wait to feel motivated to exercise.  Repeat after me… “Action precedes motivation.” Good.  Now say it again.  “Action precedes motivation.”

Here’s some good news – simple consistency can develop a body whose mind tells it what to do.  This is crucial to developing a physically active lifestyle that will benefit you in many ways.  This too is a process, but start today.  If it’s two minutes of stretching, do it.  If it’s walking around the block, do it. If it’s a three-mile run, do it.  Whatever it is, simply get up, ignore the loud barking your body will be doing, and do it.

3.  Plan your day.

Planning trumps reacting every time.  Certainly there are going to be times when things happen that you didn’t anticipate, and for us obsessive types this can be a bit unnerving, but planning frees you up to deal with surprises rather than be overwhelmed by them.

As you plan your day, include intentional effort toward the things or people who matter most.  Getting a lot done doesn’t matter too much if what you get done doesn’t matter too much.  Plan relationship development – such as phone calls to loved ones, meals shared as a family, or coffee with a friend.

The time we’re given each day is too precious to waste.  As Gordon MacDonald astutely notes in Ordering Your Private World, certain laws govern “unseized time”:

Law #1: Unseized time flows toward my weaknesses.
Law #2: Unseized time comes under the control of dominant people.
Law #3: Unseized time surrenders to the demands of emergencies.
Law #4: Unseized time gets invested in things that gain public acclamation.

Start this morning.  Prioritize.  Plan.  Then live on purpose.

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