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Before the first skirmish

We all want to be productive. That is, we want to feel like our day was well-spent. That it was meaningful.

But this rarely happens by accident. Waking up on purpose and winning the first skirmish is the key beginning to a well-spent day. But winning that first skirmish begins the night before — with bedtime.

I feel silly even writing about this. It’s so obvious: Get to bed on time. Yet, it is so difficult for me. I envy folks who are so good about going to bed on time. I truly think they have mastered an important prerequisite to a well-spent day.

You can get away with cheating sleep for a few nights here and there. But it can quickly turn into a bad habit that regularly leaves you unprepared for the next day.

Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why am I so bad at finishing each day? I’ve thought about this a lot. There are always items left on the to-do list when bedtime hits. And those late hours sure are nice for knocking a few more things off that list. Everyone else has gone to sleep. Nobody is calling or emailing. You can finally relax and focus.

Resist. Whatever hours you think you’re gaining today, you’re just stealing from tomorrow. Even worse, you’ve probably left yourself ill-prepared for the first skirmish the next morning.

I figured out why I’m so bad at finishing each day though. I lack faith.

I lack the faith that God gave me enough time today to do everything he needed me to do. I lack the faith that a minute of prayer can save an hour of useless toil. I lack the courage to finish the day, let it rest in God’s hands for the night and do battle again tomorrow.

Don’t be a walking zombie, falling asleep working and waking unprepared. Finish your day before it finishes you. And go to bed each night, not dreading the morning, but eager and prepared to welcome it and take it by surprise.

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