My favorite kind of day is one in which I get a lot of things done. I love a long, written list to start the day, especially if I can end the day with every item marked off. I admit I’m one of those people who add to the list just so I can check it off. A completed list may not make a perfect day to me, but it’s a pretty great one.
My schedule changed dramatically after my neighbor, for whom I spent several years providing ever-increasing personal care, passed away. Suddenly, I had some free time again and I hated to waste it. Instead, I wanted to use my extra time to get a lot more done and wondered if I needed more than a super-long to-do list. Maybe a secret productivity key could help. I found it in Mark 1.
Immediately: The Secret Productivity Key
IMMEDIATELY. Mark used the word forty times in his account of Jesus’ life because it describes how Jesus used His time.
When He had something to do, He did it immediately. Jesus didn’t make a list, ponder how He would do it, or get distracted and do five or six other things before He got to the one thing He intended to do immediately. He didn’t stop to look up something on His phone and end up spending an hour there.
How might the key impact my actions?
1. Awaken in the morning and get up immediately, instead of lying in bed, halfway between sleep and waking, wasting another fifteen minutes (or more).
2. After I finish using something, put it away, rather than leaving it where I used it.
3. Remove my clothes at night and put them in the laundry hamper instead of leaving them on the floor of the bathroom to accumulate until there’s a big pile.
4. Fold and put away the clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer or off the clothesline.
5. Work online at my specific task until its complete instead of taking a digital segue to something else.
6. Stop putting off and start doing. Immediately.
Immediate in action
Yesterday, I decided to give immediately a try. A bit of a fence needed repair because of a fallen log but my chain saw wouldn’t start. I considered calling someone with a functioning saw to help, but because of immediately I used an old hand saw to cut the log. It was hard work but took less time than walking back to the house to find my cell phone, calling someone, and waiting on them to arrive.
I was tired after sawing and wanted to spend a few minutes congratulating myself, but I didn’t. Instead, I set to work on the wire and installed a new t-post.
Afterward, I realized I needed to add a couple of staples to tighten the wire. What I wanted to do was let the horses out of the barn and take a break. I considered it but immediately came to mind, so I went back to the barn, put a few staples in my pocket, grabbed my hammer, and headed back to the fence.
I didn’t stop until the fence was finished. Then I let the horses out, put the tools back in their places, and took a break.
It was a snowy day, and I wanted to spend the rest of the day drinking hot tea before a roaring fire. Instead, I made a pot of soup and, while it simmered, I resumed work on my blogging course. In the spirit of immediately, I kept at it until 5 pm.
I took an occasional break to get a cup of tea, start a load of clothes, or switch them to the dryer. Immediately, though, I returned to my work, every single time.
Yesterday, I studied my Bible, wrote a blog, cleaned out stalls, prepped the barn for the falling temperatures, repaired a fence, and finished four lessons in my blogging course. I also washed, dried, and put away a load of clothes, made soup and cornbread, cleaned the kitchen, and dreamed about my new blog (planned blog topics). I replied to emails, helped a missionary with a crisis, comforted someone in their grief from hundreds of miles away, and cast a vision for a new outreach. Before I was done, I had a clear picture of the new project and so much enthusiasm about how it would be done that I wanted to start the preparation immediately, even though it was way too cold for any more outdoor work.
The price of productivity
All of that, and more, before 5 pm. How was so much accomplished? Because I worked from immediately. I completed many tasks, but I still had time to text with my family, dream, cast visions, and plan because I didn’t waste time. I didn’t watch TV or YouTube videos, play games on my phone or scroll through Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat. With my to-do list as a guide, I simply did what needed to be done.
If you’d like to use your time wisely and accomplish more than ever before, why not give immediately a try? If it worked for Jesus, it will work for us, too. I can’t wait to hear about your immediately day, so be sure to check back and comment about how it went. Have fun!
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:17-18 nasb
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