First Things First

The spring semester just started again for grad school and I’m taking a bigger class load than I did last semester. (Now is the time when I wonder, “What was I thinking?) While I’m excited to be back in school I have put a plan in place to protect me from a pattern that I saw last semester.

Whenever I start to get very busy (ie. – back in school) I begin to mismanage my priorities and get things out of order. My productivity goes down, my attention is diluted, and I’m not the best that I could be at what I need to do. Here is what I have found to be important in my everyday routine.

  • Prayer – I need time to be with God. When I’m driving around in the car or at home I make a point of sometimes shutting off all of my distractions. Whether it be the radio, iTunes, the TV, or even my cell phone, I turn it off so I can listen more for the voice of God.
  • Sleep – I am at my best when I get at least seven, if not eight, solid hours of sleep. I wake up feeling well-rested and ready for a new day. If I’m going to bed at 2 AM with a 6 o’clock alarm I’m cheating myself by thinking my efficiency will be at its best on a short night’s rest.
  • My health – I’ve just started back into my regular exercise routine. 3-4 days a week is my normal routine. I also take a daily multivitamin and drink lots of water, especially while I’m sitting in class so that I stay hydrated and protected from getting sick.
  • Alone time – As Kara calls it, this is Cave Time. I’m an introvert by nature so there are time when I need to be by myself to think, to breathe, to process. Even if nothing life-altering has happened today I still need that time alone.
  • Five minutes before bed – I take five minutes before falling asleep to think of the biggest elements of my day. They might be a paper or project for school, a project for church, an interpersonal situation (good or bad), or something unexpected that life threw my way. Whatever they may be I take five minutes before I go to sleep to prioritize each of them in my mind. Then I take each of them, starting from the top, and I pray through them as I process the feelings, emotions, details, and importance that I’ve attached to each of them. It’s the end of the day and those problems will still be there when I wake up tomorrow.
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