To Do Lists

We are 2 days into our “Five Days of Prayer” at JBC. We pray Monday through Friday, 5 to 10 am and 5 to 10 pm every day for 50 hours of prayer for the 5 days. As a church we usually have about 1000 hours of total people hours of praying during the 5 days, which is about 20 people in the prayer room praying together every hour. My personal goal is to pray 40 hours, 8 hours each day. If I don’t have anything else to do that is not difficult, but this time of year I have so many things I need to get done that I don’t know where to start. I need to get my Hebrews series finished and get the outlines all written, I need to write letters to everyone who is planning on attending my leadership classes, I need to get that firewood that was given to us in, I need to clean up my shop, I need to get my boat trailer finished that I am building, then there is my regular disciplines of daily Bible Reading, prayer, writing my blog, riding my stationary bike, and memorizing Bible verses, I would really like to get in a half day of fishing, and then today Sherri my daughter asked if I would build her shelves for her office, in her most persuasive way.

So, what comes first, what is last? I write everything down on a piece of yellow legal pad in no particular order, and read it over at least a dozen times, adding notes to the list of addendum chores that will piggyback on some of the things on my original list as I get into doing them, such as sharpening the chains for my chain saw. After reading the list over a number of times I write it in an order in which I will do them, then I read it again and invariably change the order, several times. The first thing on my to do list is always “write a to do list”, so I cross that one off when I get the list finalized, and it feels so good that I jump right on the second. I will make the short fishing trip the reward for getting everything done so now I am really motivated.

This process that I just described is a little bit of a grind, that is, it isn’t particularly exciting, just make a list. The result is that very few people take the time to do it. These weekly “todo lists” are the most effective things I do to take control of my life and get the most important things done first. Getting a lot of things done that matter in a short amount of time, wow, that feels good just writing that sentence down.

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