Are You Kidding…I Don’t Have Time to Plan for the New Year!

That’s a Luxury I Just Can’t Afford

Here we are, already a week into the new year, and I’m not done with my annual planning yet. This is something that every year I intend to do before the end of the year, but it rarely gets done on time.

I know I’m not the only one struggling to get everything done, and I get it. Our lives are busy and just keeping up with daily things is usually more than we can accomplish. And now I’m suggesting adding annual planning and goal setting to the list!

I know I’m not going to get everything done, but this doesn’t mean I should quit trying.

The question is, how can I be the most productive with the time I have?

I think it comes down to intentionally balancing time spent focusing on the past, present, and future.

We can focus on the past and everything we didn’t get done. We can focus on the future and all the things we want to get done. Or we can focus on the present and all the things that we need to get done today.

Constantly giving an unbalanced amount of attention to any one of these will make us less productive. This is why I always try to remind myself to…

Learn from the past, look to the future, and live in the present.

This is a process for prioritizing the things on my list.

Here’s an example. This morning as I was checking the weather, I saw that late next week it is predicted to have low temperatures in the single digits. I live in a house that was built in 1916 without running water. When running water was added, it was installed just inside the north side of house. I’ve learned from the past that when it gets this cold the pipes can freeze.

Of course, when this happens it requires additional time to thaw them out. And if not thawed out soon enough it might freeze to the point of causing a leak which would take more time to repair, not to mention the cost in dollars.

After years of experience, I now know that a couple of rows of small square bales of hay stacked along the north wall of the house will help insulate the pipes. I also know that it’s hard for running water to freeze, and if we leave faucets trickling, they won’t freeze.

I could spend all my time focused on the past and the things that I experienced from previous frozen pipes, or I can glean what I learned from the past.

This brings us to looking to the future. If I need bales of hay stacked along the house…I need to get that done. This means I need to find some bales and pick them up. Where I normally get them, I can’t get to when it’s muddy, and it’s snowing and raining today. This means that I need the ground to either dry out or get cold enough to freeze. But I don’t want to wait until it’s too cold and the pipes freeze.

This is going to require the coordinating approval of getting the bales, the weather, and my schedule.

I could spend all my time focused on the future and the what ifs, or I could use what I do know, and plan for the future.

This brings us to living in the present. I already have more things to do than I can get done, and now I need to add getting bales to the list. When am I going to have time to go get hay bales and put them along the north wall of the house?

I know that spending time thinking and planning can seem like a waste, but if my pipes freeze, fixing the issue will take a lot more. The same is true for everything in our lives. We can take some time to plan or just deal with the frozen pipes as they come.

Everything comes down to what I choose to do, and it’s up to me to prioritize wisely.

This is where learning from the past, looking to the future, and living in the present intersect. These three things help us to prioritize what we’ve learned from our experiences, what we desire going forward, and what the first next thing is that should be done.

Planning for the new year is the same process as the water pipes. You should look back to past years and learn from them. Look to the coming year and what you hope to achieve. Live every minute of every day like it’s the only one and all the others depend on it.

The investment of time spent planning is worth every second.

If You Don’t Want to Feel Stupid for Eternity…Don’t Waste Your Life

There’s a Limited Amount of Time in This Life, So Spend it Wisely

Knowing the future is less about knowing and more about doing. None of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year. We can only control what we’re doing right now.

Things we do now, affect the future, either for good or bad…it’s up to us.

There was a man that lived in Hawaii that loved major league sports. The problem he had was the time difference from the mainland to Hawaii. The games would be delayed and broadcast on TV in the evening. He would listen to them on the radio during the day and then watch the delayed broadcast in the evening.

This meant that he already knew what was going to happen. This affected his feelings and involvement when he watched. We need to be engaged and involve in life.

In Mark 13:1-8 Jesus tells His Disciples to, “Be careful and not let anyone fool you.” He gives them a list of things that will happen before the end. “There will be fighting and times of no food. There will be earthquakes and all sort of troubles.”

Things that have already happened multiple times throughout the history of the world.

Jesus continues to list all the terrible things that will happen before He comes back. Throughout history there have been people predicting the end. Their record isn’t very good.  Whether the end is our dying or Jesus’ second coming is not the point.

The thing to focus on is how we live this life.

In the 32nd verse of Mark 13 He says, “No one will know when that day or the time will be.”

So, if these things are going to happen before the end…and they’ve already happened, then why haven’t things ended already? Good question.

Things we do know are

  • We don’t know the future – We can plan, but we need to be willing and able to change. We need to be flexibly rigid. Fear of the future gives us something to blame. It gives us an out for being responsible. We need to learn from the past, look to the future and live in the present.
  • We need to make the most of the present – If we know and trust God things will work out. This doesn’t mean sitting around waiting on God to do things. It means knowing God and following His directions. We are His hands and feet here in the world.
  • God does know the future – If we know God’s character…we know His intentions. We get to know His character by reading His Word and talking with Him. We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28

Too much of the time we float through life with no clear plan or direction. This is not how God wants us to live this life. He wants us to actively participate every minute of every day.

We can choose how we will live this life…how we will use this gift we’ve been given.

Preparing for the end times is simple. Trusting in God and having faith is what it takes. If we don’t waste this life, we will have a much better eternity.

The Importance of Taking a Walk Down Memory Lane

Memories Help Us to Know Who We Are and Who We Can Be

This past Sunday we had another “faith sharing Sunday” combined with a 5th Sunday hymn sing. I’ve shared in previous posts about the “faith sharing Sundays”. This is where people have shared the stories of their faith journeys.

Wilma and Arlan shared their stories this time. I had heard most of these stories before, considering that they are my aunt and uncle. Even so, it is always good to hear them again and revisit those memories.

A 5th Sunday hymn singing is just what it sounds like. It’s singing to the Lord with happy songs and make music to the Lord in our hearts. We haven’t done this for a while and it was a nice reminder of my growing up in this church.

Both of these things transported me back to my youth and so many great memories. To the point of it being hard to see the page through my tears as I write this. Memories of Jim Nichols and my time as a teenager singing next to him in the choir, or when he would lead hymns and hold out notes for an exceptionally long time.

Memories are a powerful thing.

Music has an amazing way of connecting us to memories and feelings. When you hear a specific song, it can remind you of a time and a place so much that it transports you back there.

Like hearing Buck Owns, Hank Williams or Glenn Campbell and being taken back to watching Hee Haw with my family or working along side my Dad. Then I’m dragging Main Steet or on a date when I hear Boston, Journey, Kansas or the Doobie Brothers. Bluegrass music takes me to Stu Mossman’s home or guitar shop and sitting there with him as he teaches me to play the guitar.

Something about music invokes feelings.

Granted, not all memories are good, nevertheless they are a part of who we are. We are an accumulation of those memories and who we choose to be. It’s up to us to decide what we will do with them.

Our past is a part of our present.

This means that our present is a part of our future…not only ours but the future of those people we interact with. We have a responsibility to relate with others in such a way that is beneficial to both our futures.

My friend Shep is writing a book that speaks to the importance of this connection. He is sharing situations with people from his past that have affected his present. His purpose of this book is to help others understand the importance of these connections in hopes that it will lead to a better future.

Our actions today will affect the future…be wise in those actions.

It’s Time for Laser Like Focus

The word "Goal" with a dart hitting the center of a target on the letter "o"

Learn from the Past, Look to the Future, Live in the Present

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at determining where you want your life to go and a plan for how to get there. It’s easy to get caught up in all the noise and not know which way to go.

One thing is for sure, if you don’t move, you’ll never get there!

The first week we looked at the importance of having a clear direction. We compared a life GPS, “Goal Prioritization System, to a GPS used for reaching your destination in your vehicle. You need to start with your why.

The next week’s focus was how to determine “where there is”. This involves opening ourselves up to those big dreams that come by opening our heart to hear the still small voice of our Creator.

Third was cleaning up your dreams and making them a vision. It’s the action of giving dreams some form and a description. In this post I shared some of my big dreams and the process of turning them into a vision.

Last week we went into how to set goals so that you will have a way to measure your progress along the way. The first three weeks were more thinking and planning. This is critical to knowing the destination. In the fourth post we move into the action part of the system.

Now it’s time to get to the PRIORITIZATION part of the Goal Prioritization System.

To be able to reach the destination, we need to prioritize which things need done in what order, we need to be clear on our MISSION. A mission is a clear assignment to be carried out if we are going to achieve our VISION.

My purpose, “Help people find solutions for building their dreams through better business systems, quality construction projects and life lessons.”, is my why. This is what the still small voice spoke to my heart. My vision was shared in the week before lasts post. This is my where.

We have our WHY and our WHERE the mission is the HOW.

Our mission:

Bridge the gap between construction companies and customers.We do this by providing construction businesses with systems and training to make their companies more efficient and effective while educating customers in what to expect throughout the entire construction process.

With our vision and our mission, we know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

We’ve looked back and reviewed what we did wrong and what we did right. We can’t change the past…we can only learn from it and move forward. In the infamous words of Franco Bertollini in Gumball Rally

“What’s behind me is not important.”

Life is like this movie. The drivers start out with a purpose and know their destination. Each team determines what the best plan is for them. As they race across the country they are faced with choices along the way, some planned for and some not. They may have to make split second decisions that will alter their route. But if they are going to achieve their VISION, those decisions need to be based on their MISSION.

We’ve learned from what we been through up to this point. We need to be flexibly rigid. Flexible when it comes to the future because we don’t know what is around the next corner. Rigid in decisions we make, based on our mission. All we can control is this moment we’re in right now. Learn from the past, look to the future, live in the present.

If our focus is on a clear MISSION, the choices in the present become easier.