The two most important parts of your day are… the beginning and the end!
Here’s why I say that…
Because, for most of us, these are the two parts that are under our control!
Our morning and nighttime routines are typically not impacted by the unexpected (e.g. unexpected visitor, a phone call that takes too long, etc.). Think about it… we usually follow the same routine every morning (e.g. brush teeth, shower, coffee, etc.) and the same routine every night (e.g. tuck the kids in bed, e-mail, prayer, etc.).
What happens between the beginning and the end of your day is often filled with the unexpected… but the bookends, the beginning and the end, there’s a lot of predictability there.
Because there is so much predictability, why not take advantage of these two points in your day?
I’ve found a couple of practices that are tremendously helpful during these two times.
In the morning I preview my day.
I sit down and write out the things I will do during the day. These things include the daily disciplines of prayer, exercise, loving my kids, etc. as well as the matters of business to which I must attend: meetings, study, training, etc.
Then at night I review my day.
I sit down, look at what I wrote that morning and ask, “Did I do what I said I was going to do?” I make notes of things I learned, attitudes that need to be adjusted, etc.
Reviewing my day helps me learn from my day and sets me up to have a better day tomorrow!
Now here’s the crazy thing…
So many people miss the two best parts of the day!
They miss the morning because they sleep in until the last minute!
They miss the evening because they sit in front of a screen until they fall asleep!
If you are doing either or both of these… you are giving away the best and most controllable parts of your life!
Let me give you a couple of ideas that are working for me:
- Get up 30 minutes earlier.
- Don’t turn on a screen after 9 p.m.
It’s really that simple!
When you get up in the morning… write down what you will do that day. Taking time to ask God for wisdom, discipline, courage, and love is a pretty good way to start your day too.
When you sit down at night… look at that list and check off the things you accomplished. Take a few minutes to review your attitudes and experiences. Ask forgiveness, write down a lesson you learned, take a minute to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
Sure, doing this means a little less sleep and a little less Reality TV… but as Jeff Olson in his book, The Slight Edge, says…
“What is uncomfortable now will be comfortable later, and what is comfortable now will be uncomfortable later.”
I’d rather be uncomfortable with personal discipline today than uncomfortable with the results of a lack of discipline ten years from now.
Get up early and turn off the screens at night… and see what happens as you begin taking control of your life! It works for me… and I can’t wait to hear how it works for you!