This is the final post in this series. The ten practices listed in these four posts might be helpful to you or someone else toward enjoying life and yet being effective. These are practices that have been helpful to me. (You can read part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.)
The final two practices I want to mention are:
9. Take a good look at both your priorities and your procrastination. I noticed something a couple of years ago. I realized there were certain tasks and projects that I kept putting off. I noticed that certain action steps would remain undone on my to-do list. Certain projects would remain on my list without any progress being made.
I realized that quite often the action step on my list was far too vague. At times the "step" actually took four or five actions to get it done. Consequently, I would look at a step like "Put together leadership retreat" (for example) and completely avoid it. It was so large and non-specific that it was just easier to do something else. This was actually more than one step as it required a number of actions to get anything done.
I also began to realize that some of the very things that I procrastinated were actions necessary to make progress on my priorities. So, I might spend time working on something that was actually a very low priority while a higher priority was not even being addressed. Of course, this had a way of coming back to haunt me as something very important became due and I had not spent adequate time working on it.
So, here are a couple of important questions that I ask myself as I look at my "to-do" list for the day:
* What action steps have I listed here really do have a bearing on one or more of my priorities?
* What are one or two action steps that I could take today that might advance a project and consequently make progress on a priority area?
10. Finish strong! I want to finish strong. I want to finish my life and my ministry strong. Yet, there are forces that work against this. I have seen some very good men and women start off well only to crash and burn somewhere along the way. Sexual immorality. Dishonesty. Pornography. Poor judgment. These are some of the big ones.
Yet, the threat is present on another level as well. It is possible for a person to start a ministry or a particular project with great hope. Perhaps this person had a dream — a kingdom-size dream. Yet, something happened along the way. Perhaps this person was mistreated by a church. Maybe this person was unable to raise enough money to begin or continue this work. Disappointed and disheartened, he or she may have become cynical. A dream has died and something in this person has also shut down and died.
I want to be aware of the negative possibilities that I have just described. At the same time, I really want to finish strong. I want to be fully alive and present in the moment each day that I am alive.
What other practices would you add to this list?