Plan Today to be Productive Tomorrow

Plan Today

“If we don’t start, it’s certain we can’t arrive” –Zig Ziglar

How often do you ask yourself at the end of the day, “Where has the time gone?”  You realize the day is over and you didn’t carry out what you had planned to get done. Did the “procrastination shadow” follow you all day? Ever feel like you’re the foremost expert on the subject of putting off until tomorrow what you should do today?

Granted, some people are better at getting things done more than others. For those of us that are easily distracted, perhaps the simplest thing we need to do, and probably the most challenging too, is to learn to manage our time better. One of our biggest challenges when it comes to capitalizing on time is that we don’t really know how we spend it.

The best thing I’ve done for myself is to plan today to be productive tomorrow, otherwise I lose track of the time and do very little.

One way that I plan today to be productive tomorrow is to make a check list of things to do. A check list is a simple tool that helps me focus on tasks and it’s also a record of how I’ve spent my time. The items on the list are not jotted down in order of importance. If I think of something I need to do, I add it the bottom of the list.  After completing tasks, I check it off the list. At the end of the day, I look over the list and feel a sense of accomplishment.

However, what really bugs me is that several tasks stay on the list day after day. Those tasks are the ones that I dread starting; the ones that take more mental energy to begin. It’s the fault of the “procrastination shadow” following me all day. The only way I will lose that shadow is do the worst task, or the one I dread the most on my list, first thing.

To help with that, I give myself a dose-of-motivation–the night before–so that when tomorrow arrives, I’m more inclined not to procrastinate. An example of a dose-of-motivation is a short phrase and easy to remember, like this quote from Zig Ziglar:

If we don’t start, it’s certain we can’t arrive.

Here are four things I do today to be productive tomorrow:

1. Nurture my spiritual life:

Bend the knee and read the greatest history book ever written. Establish a daily rhythm of starting the day off in prayer and bible reading. In other words, I prioritize the daily time I spend devoting my attention exclusively to the glory of Christ and receiving the satisfaction he gives. I love Matthew 6:33 where Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” It’s true, I am more productive when I keep God first and by doing so, I become a better steward of time, especially with taking care of those things that I procrastinate.

2. Take care of my physical needs:

Exercise and don’t skip eating breakfast. This is something that is a non-negotiable. If I’m unable to run or walk outdoors, there is nothing stopping me from finding a motivating workout routine on the internet. I have to wake up earlier to exercise or else I will miss the window of opportunity.  Breakfast has become a favorite meal of the day. Often the night before, I will make a “yogurt-to-go” cup. Layering yogurt, nuts and fresh berries in throw-away cup. I grab it and go! It’s so easy to miss breakfast in the morning, especially with rushing out the door to take children to school and to make it to work on time, but you’ll soon feel the pangs of skipping that meal once the morning rush of adrenaline comes to a halt.

3. Create a to-do-list

If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time. There are several time management apps that are useful for managing a to-do-list. A paper and pencil work too! I like setting time limits to work on a task…set a timer on my iPhone to buzz after 30 minutes. This helps me to stay focused on finishing the task. Setting a timer reminds me about making chores a fun competition with my children. We can race each other to see who will beat the clock.

 4. Guard my family time

At the end of the day, the one thing that matters most are the people in my family. The work day is over and now it is time to lean into my family, forgetting everything left in the office and those many details still left undone on that to-do-list.

If I manage myself well throughout the day, I will be a better leader for my family at the end of the day. And when the evening has become still and quiet and my family has settled down for the night, I reflect on the events of the day and consider how it will impact tomorrow.

“Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.  Make motivation a habit and you will get there more quickly and have more fun on the trip.” -Zig Ziglar

You may find the following posts helpful:

How to Break Bad Habits

The Joy of Running

Four Ways to Make Your Personal Worship Habit Forming

In Pursuit of a Gospel-Centered Community

For an added dose of motivation:

6 Unintended Casualties of Mismanaging Your Time

Trick Your Lazy Brain Into Being More Productive

How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day

Zig Ziglar Quotes


After attending an Orange Conference, I usually say, “It can’t get much better than this.” But then I go to another one and say the same thing! While every part of the conference was significant, I think the opening session by Reggie Joiner was the most moving of all.

We all need to consider the TIME we have left with our children. This profound statement continues to speak to me…

“When you see how much time you have left, you get serious about the time you have now.


Here are my notes from the opening session and some photos I took of the exhibits. The marbles in glass canisters was a visual impact upon my heart! Each marble represents a week of life…birth through graduation from high school.

Orange Conference: Age 1

My Granddaughter: Layla

I had a lump in my throat throughout the conference just thinking about the time ticking away. We are on a mission to leave a legacy of faith to our next generation. For God’s Glory!  I was challenged more and more to consider the TIME I have left with my children and grandchildren…for the families and friends in our lives.

Our legacy is not for us, but for them. Our history includes the faithfulness of God through the grace of salvation in Jesus Christ. We have stories to tell of God’s faithfulness. We have stories to tell of answers to prayers. We have exciting and compelling faith stories woven into our history. We have TIME to FOCUS on this.

Orange Conference: Age 3

My granddaughter: Isla

Opening Session:

“Losing Your Marbles”

Gave families a jar of 962 marbles, with each marble representing one week. Remove one marble for every week that passes.

When you see how much time you have left, you get serious about the time you have now.

We have a limited amount of time with our kids…We are given TIME

Pray for a heart of wisdom to use this TIME wisely! “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

There is value in numbers! Have I considered the number of days?

When you see the time you have left, you tend to FOCUS more.

Demonstrate to our children how God loves them. The main thing is a relationship to Jesus. That is what matters.

Engage our kids in a story bigger than themselves. They are woven into a history of God’s faithfulness through the generations. Show up and make history with kids.

When you see the time you have left, you make what matters…matter most.

When you see the time you have left, you value what happens over time.

For our children…we can:

LOVE our kids time over time

LOVE over TIME = a sense of WORTH

  • I Corinthians 13: Love is….
  • Accepted, no matter what
  • Significant!

WORDS over TIME gives them DIRECTION

  • Shape the character of our children.
  • Everybody needs somebody to show up…to give the right direction.
  • Someone that has invested TIME…a history together.


  • We are wired for stories
  • We have imaginations.
  • Craft a story that appeals to emotions.


  • We are created to have fun
  • Measure temperature of church based on how much they laugh.
  • Joy = an atmosphere of fun
  • There is healing through laughter and fun. Example: play therapy

TRIBES over TIME give a sense of BELONGING 

  • We can be more present for a few…time over time. (Small Groups)
  • To leave a Legacy, we don’t have to be famous. We have to have time.
  • Can’t always see what is happening when you are doing it. Can’t predict significant moments.

Because of God’s grace, we have a place at the table. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we are significant. We have been invited to sit at the table. I am seated at the table!

We belong in the tribe of faith…Christ followers.

FOCUS on the TIME we are given! 

Focus on Time

Lose Your Marbles

TIME used up

“Where has the time gone?” A question that can drone on for too long and never receives an answer that satisfies. That’s because it’s a silly question that doesn’t need answering. Time moves at a steady pace. Time will not speed up and it doesn’t slow down. Time is a consistent thing we can depend on every day. If the alarm clock fails to ring at 6:00 in the morning, it doesn’t change the fact that it is 6:00 A.M. and time to get out of bed. What I do after that is up to me…while TIME continues to move at its steady and rhythmic pace.

I am jealous of time. I am envious of time. I want more time.  TIME asked, “To do what?”  “to do whatever i want,” said I.

“What do you want to do?” asked TIME.  “i want to do whatever i want to do whenever i want to do it,” said I.

“Are you not satisfied with the amount of time you are given?” asked TIME. “no, i want more time to do what i want to do,” said I.

With a resounding voice, TIME reminded me that it was created for the glory of God. TIME is arbitrary. What matters most is what I do with the TIME God has given.

I give back my want for more time to God (it was never mine) and remember how TIME is used up for His glory. Used up well!

TIME for them. Love watching them walk down the hall to KidzPraise and Children’s Worship!