January seems to be self-improvement season. I must admit I have been reading my fair share of productivity hacks and time management posts. Which caused me to want to write my own. So here goes a very personal application and condensation of the material I’ve read along with my take on the topic.
I believe that before I can talk about changes and productivity I need to establish what is most important. Seems obvious but I have often jumped to list making without first deciding what my ultimate goal is. So my top priority in life is God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first “the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Simple right? Focus on God and the other things will be taken care of. So if my top five priorities are:
- my wife
- my kids
- my health
When I focus on God first, He takes care of my wife, or my kids, my health and my ministry. When if I focus on my priorities without making sure God is first, my efforts will not yield as much return for my investment. That put it nicely, the reality is that if God is not first, all my personal efforts, regardless of how genuine and heartfelt, will amount to nothing and I will forfeit my salvation after all my hard work.
The way I see it, I can either put God first or not have God at all. He can only be my Lord, if I treat Him as such. So, most of my focus in 2017 will go into making sure I am making God my top priority, in everything I do. One of my resolutions for this year is to make sure that every day, when I wake up, the first thing that I read is the Bible.
Next comes my wife, my kids, and my health. I realized that I must make time for these just like I would make appointments for special meetings or carefully schedule classes. I must place my wife and my kids in my plan for the day and the week otherwise they will get only leftovers which is the equivalent of nothing. I cannot claim that my wife and kids are a priority if I am not scheduling time to invest in them during my day and throughout my week.
Similarly I need to schedule time for exercise and protect it. The better my health is the clearer my mind works, the better I can connect with God, the more I can do with my kids, the longer I will be around for my wife and them. I enjoy life better when I am in better shape. I sleep better, I am more productive, I am more present as an individual when my health is optimal. So for the sake of those I love and even to better serve God, I must invest in my health, not only by scheduling exercise sessions but also by being careful with what I eat and making sure I am getting enough rest.
Ministry comes fifth in my list of priorities and I must constantly remind myself of this, because it is always creeping up the ranks. Ministry is what others see, it can easily become how I measure my worth and success. But my ministry can only succeed if God, my wife, my kids and my health come before it. I can’t minister if I am not prioritizing God, I can’t minister well if my marriage is falling apart or if my kids are rebellious and causing all kinds of trouble, I can’t minister if I am sick, so for the sake of the ministry, I must limit it, and place all these other things above it in my list of priorities. I love ministry, I believe in it, I believe with my whole heart that it is my calling, but it must remain in its place in my life. Ministry without any boundaries can ruin my walk with God my family my health and therefore come to an early end when it could have gone on for many more years.
Because I don't want to have an overwhelming list, I prefer to focus on principles. Once I figure out my priorities it is also important to figure out some principles to live by. Personally, recently I have three main principles that I want to live by. I want my life to be simple, I dislike clutter, it gets in the way of everything. I want to live intentionally, I don’t want to wait for life to happen, I want to happen to life. Finally I want my life to be meaningful, I want to make a difference, specifically a positive one.
So my priorities are, God, my wife, my kids, my health, and ministry. And the principles I am currently focusing on is to live a simple, intentional and meaningful life. In all that I do, I want to keep it simple, be intentional, and make it meaningful.
I believe that going through life with clear priorities and principles guiding my decisions will make me more productive, more effective in everything I do.
How about you?
What are your top 5 priorities?
What principles do you live by?
How are you trying to be more productive this new year?