How to Simplify Your ‘To Do’ List

When you say “yes” to everything, what’s important takes a back seat. Some thoughts on time management, learned from the military.

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Posted in , May 19, 2017

Simplify your to do list.

I press in toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:14)

Freedom and discipline may seem unrelated, like opposite ends of the spectrum. But watching my son serve in the military, I learned how those two concepts are closely related.

I tend to be undisciplined in some areas—and the worst is when I’m asked to do something. I have a tendency to say “yes” then later regret the commitment.

There are many reasons I tend to automatically agree to do something. Some of them may strike a nerve with you as well:

--I don’t want to disappoint someone.
--It feels good to be needed.
--I don’t want to be left out.
--I enjoy that particular task.
--I feel God has called me to do this. 

Some are good reasons to say yes, some aren’t. I put the reasons in that order on purpose—not because that’s a good ranking, but because it’s an honest one. All too often I put God’s calling last…not first.

Read More: How You Can Help Support Our Military

I’ve found that doing things for the wrong reason ties up my time and doesn’t leave me free to fulfill the call God has put on my life. Over-commitment is an undisciplined exercise that leads away from freedom.

While our son was in the military, his time was closely guarded. He had certain things he could and couldn’t do. These constraints appeared to limit him in ways that were, at first, frustrating. But as he spent more time in service, he saw how those limitations helped him focus on the job he had been called to do.

Watching him work through this helped me set some healthier boundaries when it came to my own tendency to overcommit.

I learned to pray first, wait on God’s message about what to do next and then PRESS ON—no matter what other things tempted me from the discipline of His purpose for my life. 

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