Here we are, sitting in front of our phones or keyboards and all we feel is that nagging ache of “Where to start?” Our mental list of all of our fumbles and regrets has us knee-deep in mental mud.
So let’s get started. Here are five actions we can all take today to get us one step closer to being out of the rut and on to the path that God has for us. Some of these actions cost a little money and all of them cost a little bit of time. But it’s worth both of those commitments to draw back the curtain a little bit and let some light shine on your life.
“… whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” James 1:25 (MSG)
Snuff the dashboard light
Small, unaddressed problems are leeches of mental energy. They may be tiny activities and assignments which stare us in the face every day, but for whatever reason, don’t get done. In my experience, these can be errands that get put off one day, which turns into a week, which turns into three months, and then a year. Our procrastination has turned issues into avalanches and we don’t even want to take a step, not because the thing itself is hard, but because of the guilt associated with putting it off.
The best example of this is the dashboard light. If you have a Check Engine or a Change the Oil blinking at you, you know that its little red stare can trigger all sorts of bad feelings.
It’s time to take the first step. Get just that problem checked out. You don’t have to get all the way to the solution, especially if it means a lot of work on your car. But getting an answer, instead of imagine the worst-case scenario, will move you in a positive direction. This usually takes one stop on the way home to get a diagnosis, an oil change or a fresh boost of air in the tires. Do it today.
What are the blinking red lights in your life?
Buy flowers for the wife
I have a calendar item that pops up once a week and reminds me to buy my wife flowers. (I’m that helpless that I need a reminder, see below.)
This is something I’ve done for years. Sometimes more consistently than others. But I do it often enough that she notices and appreciates it. One woman I know has only gotten flowers twice in her life from her husband. What’s up dude?
If things have been dysfunctional at the house, this will show that you are doing something different. That you want to surprise her and make her feel appreciated. Even if the feeling lasts only for a few moments, its in a positive direction.
If she doesn’t like flowers, get her something that will be unexpected and meaningful.
If there’s a grocery store anywhere between your parking lot at work and your driveway, it’s an easy win.
What gift can you get your wife today?
Tackle your calendar and clean your desk
Chris Locurto is one of my great heroes and mentors in this blogging and podcasting business. He recently posted a superb podcast about the benefit cleaning your desk can have on clearing your mental clutter. As Chris explains, clutter can be a killer for creativity. Listen to Chris’ podcast here.
Another practical step is to get a grip on your calendar. I am a huge proponent of the Getting Things Done method of productivity and I live out of my calendar and email. Scheduling reminders on basic things – like flowers for the wife, when to leave the office and when all of the kids’ activities are – helps me stay in my lane and live more effectively.
The more you account for your time, the better your accountability will be to yourself and to God’s standards for you.
After you clean your desk, look at your calendar and add one thing to it every day: a few minutes in the morning to pray and read Scripture. Lock it in.
What method do you use for managing your time?
Walk around the house with a clipboard
If you want more room for God and your family in your heart and your head, you got have to work on getting other stuff out.
Here’s the breakthrough, though. You don’t have to work on any of these thoughts. You just have to get them out of your head.
Quick, what are five honey-do projects your wife been asking you to do? Or what are five things in your house which you just wish were fixed?
Got them? Good. Write them down. In fact, get a notebook or a clipboard and a pen and walk around the house and write everything down you want to do. These can be easy tasks or huge, back-and-budget-breaking projects. Write them all down! Get them out of your brain. Quiet down the spinning wheels which whir and whine when you are trying to talk to God.
Now across the front of that notebook, in big, bold letters, write the words “House Projects” and put it in a place you will remember to go when you have time. When you have five minutes, do the ones that take five minutes and cross them off. When you have a Saturday afternoon, do the day-long commitments.
By putting them in a place, you save your mind for other more important thoughts (and prayers). Take control.
How many projects did you write down?
Do this tonight with your kids. Don’t wait. They will only be as old as they are right now for this very day. They want and need our goofiness, our fun and our love. Be gentle, give some tickles and hugs. This is a night they’ll remember.
And you will too.
QUESTION: What one action will you do today to get unstuck?