Overwhelmed by too much to do? Iâ€™m learning that how I start the day makes all the difference. I was listening to a conference speaker talk on the subject of survival skills last week and got a surprising dose of recommendations for how to start the day. I wanted to share it because I think dads need to set a tone around the house if they want to be a blessing to their families.
I will admit to being an early riser. I slept in to 7:00am on my day off and felt off balance for the whole day. I usually wake up like a light between 4:30 and 5:30, no alarm. It is quiet around the house and I can sit in front of a fire in the wood stove during the winter and think about how the day might go. These suggestions work whether you get up early or late.
The first change in my routine that the conference speaker recommended was to stop reading email first thing in the morning. That was hard because I donâ€™t like getting behind on email as the day begins. He was right about one thing. Reading email leads to answering email and possibly to a bad attitude as the day begins. Email is the wrong thing to set the tone for my day.
Social media is no better. I have a lot of connections in the four states where I have worked throughout my careerâ€”connections I value and like to keep up. Last week I learned that two very significant people in my past had died. Unfortunately, they were two different directions from where I live, and I couldnâ€™t even attend either funeral. That impacted the tone of my day for a few days, just trying to figure out if there would be travel involved in each dayâ€™s routine.
The biggest influence in my routine was the speakerâ€™s overall suggestion about structuring the day. No email and no social media at 5am makes for a good start. That doesnâ€™t help with how the day will form and proceed. Structure helps provide the form for the contents to fill in. His source was the creation account in Genesis. For three days, God created the forms to fill the â€œformless and voidâ€ of the world He created on day one. Then He put heavenly bodies in the heavens, birds in the sky and animals and mankind on the ground to fill the forms He created out of the formlessness.
Each day begins formless and void. Possibilities fly around us like clouds which remain visible but out of reach. How we structure the day determines how we spend the day. As a spiritual person, Iâ€™m looking for opportunities the Creator might open. If I choose the first paths of the day without regard to His guidance, I short-circuit the options He would have provided.
Another formative professor in my past spoke of how he tried to leave early for class so that he could visit with those who would seek him out on the way to class. Leaving just before class time made those conversations impossible. By leaving 30 minutes before, he found that he was providing the space to do his job of teaching and mentoring using the opportunities the Creator filled into those forms.
Decisions about how we go about the morning or the way we move about our tasks provide structure for whatever fills those minutes and hours. These are worth our attention because thatâ€™s where the attitudes and fulfillment comes from that we long to experience.