In my entire adult life I have never had a boss who actively manages my work load and schedule. Therefore, it is up to me to make sure that I am maximizing my productivity toward being successful in achieving personal and professional goals. Here are five daily disciplines that I have found to be very strategic in helping me toward this end.
Every day my morning begins the same way: up early, brew a strong pot of French Roast coffee and read. I generally read from two books. The first one is always the Bible. As a pastor, I need to invest in my own soul as I learn more about the Almighty and His plan. It has been said, “You can’t draw water from an empty well.” My personal study in God’s Word keeps my personal well full as I must draw from it many times each day to walk in the works God has planned for me. Next, I will read a chapter from whatever book I am currently reading. I make it my goal to read several books a year ranging from biographies, leadership, theology and personal interest.
I am a goal oriented person. Every day it is important for me to review those goals and organize my time accordingly. That way the tyranny of the urgent will not keep me from doing the things that are most important.
One of the things that are important to me is spending time investing in people. Personally and professionally, I want to cultivate and nurture relationships with key people in my life. Foremost is my family. My relationship with my wife and daughters is easily neglected if I am not purposeful to invest in them daily. If I want to be successful in nurturing key relationships I have to set aside appropriate time in my day.
At least once a day, I schedule time to be creative. This takes on various forms: blogging, journaling, music, creating short films, or preparing to teach. The biggest obstacle for me in accomplishing this daily goal is waiting for inspiration. I make it a practice to write down ideas as they come. If I don’t write them down, I have trouble getting “inspired” when the time comes to create. That way, when I come to the part of the day that I’ve scheduled to be creative, I have a list of items to get me started.
I am a physical person and I love achieving fitness goals. Regular exercise keeps my energy levels up during the day and provides an outlet to blow off accumulated stress. It also keeps my mind focused. Sometimes I have a difficult time concentrating and it is often during long runs or bike rides I have mapped out strategies for accomplishing goals or solving problems that I can’t seemed to get a handle on. Also, many creative ideas come to me while exercising.
Though life sometimes gets in the way, these five disciplines have become a regular part of my routine to ensure I am living purposefully. I feel better about each week that passes and have more energy and focus to invest in things that are important. They have served me well and I hope that perhaps one or all of them may help you maximize your ability to pursue your goals.