Authored by Tina Kapp
I read a very interesting article called “Take Charge of Your Life in Just One Hour,”1 by Anna Rich. There are countless articles and books trying to help people become better organized, more focused, and generally more successful. The reason this one stood out to me was because it was simple, clear, practical, and putting it into practice would actually fit into one hour.
It’s not easy to make the extra effort of focusing on our priorities and getting through those difficult or tedious (but more important) tasks, before relaxing or doing the things we enjoy. Just having someone say (in whatever voice you find most annoying), “You really need to be more organized and focused,” doesn’t help.
My biggest obstacle is procrastination. It’s easy to put something off by telling myself I’ll get to it later … only to wait too long and find I have to struggle to catch up. The tips in this article were perfect for me because they only take one hour. Some points might work for you and others might not, but hopefully a few things will make sense and will help you get your day in order.
Here are my favorite tips (and a few personal adaptations) of what you can do in that one hour:
One minute: Make your bed
It might seem silly or inconsequential, but I definitely agree with this one. Once your room looks neater, you’ll feel better already. If you’re a relatively neat person, it helps you feel on top of your day when things are in place. If you’re on the opposite end of the scale, making your bed once every great while may help you find your favorite, long-lost bunny slippers or that school report you were sure the dog ate.
As the Bible says, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”2
Fifteen minutes: Eat breakfast
There are a lot of health benefits to eating breakfast, but I know that not everyone’s a “breakfast person.” I’ve been both at different times of my life, and so far, I’ve survived just fine, so don’t stress about it. The main point here is being aware of your health, making good choices, and not letting them be made for you by running out of time before you can manage to catch a bite.
King Solomon wisely told his sons, “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.”3
Two minutes: Write a to-do list for the day
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it still works. In fact, many top business executives and other smart people recommend this single action. Having a to-do list helps you see exactly what you need to do so you can make sure you get the most important things done first. Being able to tick things off your list gives you that fantastic feeling of well-deserved accomplishment and makes sure you don’t neglect or miss doing things that are timely or that have a deadline.
The author of Hebrews wrote, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”4
Ten minutes: Read a Bible chapter and pray for someone or some event
Getting your spiritual side geared up is as important as the physical side. Did you hear about something tragic in the news? You can take a few minutes to pray for those involved. Take some time to pray for friends and loved ones that come to mind, as well as for the things you’re working on or your upcoming tests or projects.
I imagine King David had a pretty hefty to-do list, but he still made time first thing each day to pray. He said in Psalms, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”5
There are a lot of great Bible-reading programs that can help you choose a chapter or two to read every day and also help you to get through big sections over time. Other ideas are reading a Psalm or Proverb each day, or a chapter of a missionary’s biography, or some other book you find spiritually uplifting and inspirational. Listening to a podcast from Just1Thing can fall into this category. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books and articles to choose from. I love to get recommendations from my friends who tell me about great books, articles, or Bible studies they’ve read.
Acts talks about the Bereans, who were serious shiners in the daily reading of God’s Word department. Luke says of them, “They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day.”6
Two minutes: Practice gratitude
Think of all the things in your life that you are thankful for, and as the old song goes, “Count your Blessings.” There are so many things we take for granted each day—things like our sight, our health, opportunities to study and work, friends and family, a house to live in. Taking a few minutes every day to thank the Lord for the things He’s given you helps you to see life from a better perspective. Positivity is a powerful thing; it has hosts of health benefits and can even help you walk through doors of possibility that you may not have attempted if you were focused too much on the negative.
King David left out all excuses for not praising the Lord when he said, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.”7
Thirty minutes: Exercise
In his well-illustrated YouTube video, “Twenty-three and a Half Hours,”8 Dr. Mike Evans discusses the benefits of being active for 30 minutes a day. So much of our modern living revolve around being physically inactive: studying, working at a desk, reading, driving or riding in a car, sleeping or watching TV. If that sounds familiar, the challenge is to see if we can limit our sedentary activities to 23½ hours every day and give ourselves at least 30 minutes to go for a walk or do something active that we enjoy. The Bible refers to your body as the “temple of God.”9 That means that taking good care of yourself is important. Just as you shouldn’t neglect your spirit and only feed your body, you also can’t ignore your health and physical care by ONLY taking care of your spirit.
John said it well when he wrote, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”10
If you can add these things to your daily routine, you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel and how much more on top of things you’ll become. I’ve just started, and I love it already.
Something that really helps is getting a friend to do it with you, so you can check up on each other and get some positive competition going.
The most important thing is sticking with it. Anything good that you do, even for a few minutes every day, pays off over time!
What is an hour worth to you?
1 em>Fairlady, April 2013
2 1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV
3 Proverbs 19:15 NIV
4 Hebrews 6:12 NIV
5 Psalm 5:3 NIV
6 Acts 17:11 NIV
7 Psalm 150:6 NIV
9 1 Corinthians 3:16
10 3 John 1:2 NIV
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2014 by The Family International