What are Your “Essentials”?

coffee17_1.jpgWhat are your essentials for starting a day or week?  Here are a few of mine.  (And of course these don’t all carry the same weight in terms of importance.)

1.  Reading the Bible.  Yes, quite often I am thinking about a class or a message to be preached.  Yet, I try to keep conscious of my own need for formation.  In the last few days, I have read II Corinthians and I Timothy.  I have found it to be important to linger over a text as a person might linger over a nice steak.

2.  Prayer.  Sometimes I pray as I step outside early in the morning before the sun comes up (to those of you who are night owls, this is totally weird, I know).  I also use prayer books though not on a regular basis.  This summer, I have been immersing myself in Jesus’ teachings regarding the kingdom of God.  So, I have been praying the "Jesus Creed."  (See Jesus Creed, by Scot McKnight.)

3.  Relationships.  I try, each day, to think about the status of my relationship with various family members.  Is there someone I really need to call?  Do I need to e-mail someone?  Do I just need to "check in"?  My children are 21 and 25.  I try to stay connected with them to the point that I know the names of their close friends.  Am I aware of what my children are dealing with this week?

4.  My Next Action List.  I have found David Allen’s work in Getting Things Done to be extremely helpful to me.  One of the most important lists that I have is my "next action" list.  This covers not only my work but home, relationships, etc.  I walk through this list each day wanting to make progress on a few things on it.  

5.  Coffee and the news.  My early mornings begin with a cup of coffee and/or a book.  Then I will look through the Dallas Morning News.  At some point, I will read the front page of the New York Times (on-line) and usually a few other papers (any of those which are listed on the right-hand bar of this page).

6.  Exercise.  I generally work out five times a week.  I do this right after work for about an hour in a local workout facility.  It’s not that I’m a "health nut" or I’m trying to get into shape for some event.  No, more than anything it helps me deal with stress.  I function better and feel better when I am exercising in some way on a regular basis.

No doubt I missed a few that are very important to you.  What would you add to this list?  What practices are important to you as you begin a day or a week? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “What are Your “Essentials”?

  1. I usually begin my week preparations on Sunday night.  On top of the Bible (and generally a prayer guide and journal) and the Newspaper, I find that watching 60 Minutes on Sunday night gets me in a good frame of mind for the week.  I’m thinking about cultural issues and how they relate to the Bible, I’m caring about the world and how to engage it, etc.  And 60 Minutes helps me do this.  There is something about giving a true news story its full 15 minutes of coverage versus the usual 30 seconds on the nightly news that is a great week refresher.  Thus, summer re-runs on the show are always a disappointment.

  2. Jim, I really enjoyed this post about your routine to begin the day.  It was helpful to me and we have a lot in common with it.  Thank you.  

  3. David–Thanks for your comment.  It is very interesting to hear how some of the details of one another’s schedules.  I appreciate your comment. Matthew–I appreciate your comment as well.  Thanks. 

  4. Greg,I would love to hear you give a few more details regarding "donuts."  I suspect there is a story.:)  

  5. Jim, i remember you showed me the "getting things done" book. I’m going to order it and read it before this semester starts.

  6. Jim:
    A good list. For me I would only add that in the summertime I need the daily routine of spending some time in my vegetable garden. I find that helps to center me in the midst of or after a hectic day.