I have to laugh at the irony of today’s Talk about It Tuesday topic. Yes, we’re talking about productivity. It’s been our discussion for a the last few weeks. However, today’s particular topic has to deal with holding to your productive schedule. hehe…I’ve had a hard time with this one today… long story I’ll share as we go on.
Holding to your schedule means a few things, some of which we talked about last week. To avoid being repetitious, I’m going avoid doing anything other than renaming the main points of last week’s discussion. They are as follows:
- Set realistic goals.
- Prioritize your list.
- Allow for some distractions.
It’s really this last point that I really want to discuss. To some of you, this concept of allowing for distractions seems a little foreign? Isn’t that the whole point of a schedule? However, there are a few things we must consider when planning our “perfect” schedule:
- We live in a fallen world, which means perfect does not exist
- We are fallen people who succumb to accidents, hold-ups, distractions, needs, illness, etc
- When the schedule becomes the goal and relationships are put at 2nd place, we have lost the heart of productivity. In that case, go back and read Pt. 1.
We live in a fallen world. This means that the perfection is something for the movies. It’s time to become completely okay with this. Life never runs 100% perfectly. This goes along with the second concept that we are fallen people whose own bodies are plagued by the affects of sin and death; imperfect people add up to equal an imperfect world. Whether it be personal imperfections like oversleeping (that was me today), sickness (also me today), a crisis in the life of a loved one, plans that get thrown off because of miscalculations of time, place, or anything else (like yesterday, when I forgot the bank was closed because it was a national holiday.), etc. These, all products of the fall and sin in the world, will keep us from having a perfect schedule.
More importantly than the distractions that we face every day, I want to caution you against having a schedule-first, relationships-second mentality. I knew someone like this. It was super-frustrating, because talking and having a real relationship was second to getting things accomplished on her list. Talk about a lack of an eternal perspective! I’m not sitting here in condemnation of her, but I do want to caution you to avoid that mentality. The tasks we do today will often have to be redone shortly. Delaying them or missing a deadline or wasting a resource–none of that is as important as the soul of another person. Think in light of eternity!
So… we all know we’ll face distractions and now we’ve all thrown away our concept of a perfect, always schedule keeping life….right? …right?
So, how do we do this? Hold to a schedule and yet allow for distractions? The key to success in this is a mixture of two words: flexibility and adaptability.
- flexible – capable of being changed; “flexible schedules”
- flexible – able to flex; able to bend easily; “slim flexible birches”
- flexible – elastic: able to adjust readily to different conditions; “an adaptable person”; “a flexible personality”; “an elastic clause in a contract”
- flexible – bending and snapping back readily without breaking
When I read this definition of the word flexibility, what comes to mind is a yielding of control. This is not easy for most people, but it is a must for those of us claiming to be believers. As a Christian, we understand that God is completely sovereign over all. That includes our lives and the big issues, of course; but sometimes, we forget He is also concerned about and sovereign over the small things in life… like our day-to-day schedules.
Of course, knowing these things doesn’t mean much if you don’t apply this spiritual knowledge to your actual life and lifestyle. Taking this knowledge and allowing it to change your heart attitude is the essence of flexibility.
- the ability to change (or be changed) to fit changed circumstances wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
According to this same source, adaptability is the willingness to apply the truth of flexibility to your life. Too wordy? I agree. In simpler terms, being adaptable means recognizing that some circumstances (often out of our control) often require a change in personal plans. I think the key words here are “the ability to… be changed.” Again, this sounds a lot to me like the yielding of control.
Sometimes, I’ll have my day all planned out. I’ll know my to-do list like the back of my hand and be making some headway down the list. Then, Adam will come home for lunch, and in the course of our conversation, he’ll request I alter my whole afternoon to either do something he needs accomplished or to not do something I had planned. Don’t worry; he always has a good reason, but it often involves my plans changing in even a slight way. My ability to change and be changed by the desires of my husband is adaptability. (NOTE: I don’t say this to praise myself. I just needed an example.) Now, if I were to fight him and not allow him to lead, I would say I was not adaptable.
Think about this as you go through your schedule today:
- Am I remembering that people and relationships are more important than my schedule?
- Am I realizing that things may not go as planned in my schedule because we live in a fallen world?
- Am I living out my spiritual understanding of God’s sovereignty in how I react when my plans don’t work out as I wish?
- Am I adaptable to the needs of my spouse/leadership/family?
Think about this today as you plan to be productive and pray for a heart to apply these principles.
Tune in next week for Talk about It Tuesdays and more discussions on this topic!