A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
There was a time in my life when I made lists. I had a list for everything, and I mean, everything. But then life seemed to get so busy that I felt I needed to skip right to the ‘do’ part, that I did not have enough time to first make the lists that I had come to rely on.
I learnt how to keep a running ‘to do’ list in my mind. Trouble is, unless you have a computer for a brain, this is hard to sustain in the long run. Truth be told, I messed up, often forgetting to do things, to buy things, and to be somewhere. I found myself becoming easily distracted from the priority task, and getting caught up in other less urgent but usually more appealing tasks every single day …
Apart from the chaos that inevitably unfolded over time, the stress and uncertainty that such a “system” created led to a growing sense of overwhelm and a lack of preparedness for anything. The old adage: Failing to plan is planning to fail became all too real in my life.
Now we are all going to fail in some way at some point in our lives. It’s inevitable. No amount of planning or preparation can remove the possibility of failure entirely but it certainly does reduce it. Significantly.
Recently, out of necessity in a very busy season of my life, I started making lists again. This is what I’ve discovered afresh about making a simple ‘to do’ list a part of my everyday routine:
• My stress and anxiety levels have reduced considerably
• My priorities are clear
• I have new found motivation to do what I need to do even if I don’t necessarily feel like doing it
• I am more efficient with my time and my energy
• I am able to get more things done in less time
• There is a great sense of accomplishment (which spills over into every area of my life) when I can scratch things off
But ‘to do’ lists are not just for the busy man or woman who juggles many responsibilities. ‘To do’ lists are for anyone who needs to get anything done. On time. Ahead of time. To the best of his or her ability. Online or on paper. It can be as simple or as detailed as you like. You choose!
The Word of God says in Proverbs 16:9 says that a man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. An added benefit is that as things come to mind and I write them down, I find myself praying over them. As a result, some things stay on my list for that day while others may move to another day or even another week.
What I am actually doing is planning my days, weeks and months with God. This is a wonderful, unexpected benefit available to all of us and so very necessary in this busy life that we lead where so many things are crying out for our attention.
I am not saying that we should plan our lives down to the last minute in the finest of detail … Where’s the fun in that? What I am saying is that I believe we are all called to live life more intentionally and with a greater sense of purpose, and to do this a certain level of preparation is required of us. In my experience, a ‘to do’ list is a great way to start.