Ready For the Day
An entrepreneur entered an office with a box of candy bars and a money tin, proposing to sell his candy on the honor system. Few people bought any candy, but one fellow frequently helped himself, “keeping track” of what he owed in his mind and paying in random lump sums, which included extra change, “in advance.” Disorganization and lack of accountability undermined his honest intentions: this man considered he had probably overcompensated for this convenience, but when the candy salesman returned to collect his things, both boxes came up short.
The daily renewal that is essential for developing deep reservoirs of spiritual strength cannot be measured the way candy bars and money can, but sometimes our approach to accomplishing our everyday lists of necessary “little things” can be like the man and the candy bars. Faith has a short shelf life; it cannot be stored up for long without being renewed, yet it sweetens and revitalizes every other life activity and paves the way for deeper faith when it is increased through consistent effort. Dutifully attending to those significant daily expectations of personal preparation — including scripture study, personal prayer, exercise, and self-beautification — provides confidence to approach life without fear of shortchanging somewhere.
Define your priorities and establish appropriate minimums. Immediate, proximate success comes and can be measured only when it has been defined. Your minimum expectations for yourself should be appropriate to your circumstances and your values. At a time of extended physical distress, my daily minimum for being ready for the day, including being dressed and presentable, was 10:00 each morning. This was possible for me to achieve and I had no regular commitments outside of my home, so generally this was acceptable. My circumstances are different now, and my expectations have increased as well. I experience satisfaction each time I meet or exceed my current minimum goal, for I can see progress in the right direction.
Put first things first. This means making plans that allow you to accomplish your priorities early in the day, before doing other things. It also means choosing to do them over other activities when you have discretionary time. Focus on completing the important preparation of prayer, personal scripture study, exercise and self-beautification before turning to other priorities. Naturally, there are bad days. When the juggling act of life occasionally gets interrupted by stumbling blocks or mired oxen, our success will come as we pick up and return each thing to its proper order as soon as our hands are free.
Plan strategies in advance for those days that just don’t start right by establishing ways to “make up” the same day. A small book of scripture and a journal from your purse, for example, can put a new face on those frustrating wait times (which often follow “emergencies”). And introspective study will put you back on track — in more ways than one.
Time yourself. Like money, time can be measured and budgeted. We often believe we cannot afford what we want if we do not know what it costs or aren’t sure what we have to spend. For example, I want the confidence of looking presentable. If I know washing my face and applying makeup costs just three minutes and 42 seconds I’ll rarely tell myself it’s too expensive. Time your regular “Getting Ready” routine and plan daily to invest wisely in yourself!
Make your time do double duty. Scheduling exercise time with a friend means you are both more likely to accomplish it (you are accountable to one another) and you are doubling it in your efforts to encourage, nurture, and mentor one another — true friendship in action! Listening to a twenty-minute inspirational talk while doing heavier housework inspires your soul and provides a built-in time limit, helping you keep all things in order. It can even provide an opportunity for needed exercise on those days when you were unable to stretch your legs in the morning.
The world doesn’t come to a sudden, screeching halt if we approach a new day without really getting ready for it. Still, if we believe we value something and do not do it, we suffer a blow to our integrity. Too many such days, and we’re likely to come up short on feeling and being organized. Unlike cash in a box, such things cannot be made up later in a huge lump sum; in addition to the cumulative effects of consistency, we need confidence daily from the strengthening power of preparing for each and every day.
Return to Organize Self – Master Plan …
©2010 Daunell Clarke/www.houseoforder.com
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission of andrewconn