The 15-minute discipline (3/7)

I love reading biographies. There is something about the power of real people, doing remarkable work with their lives, and seeing “behind the scenes” at what makes them tick. For example, who knew that the greatest base thief in baseball history attributed his success to his nightly ritual? A giant bowl of ice cream before bed!

I was recently re-reading a book that told several stories about successful men and women in the world of business. One of the stories was about a female CEO who organized her life very carefully. Each year, she would lay out goals for that year, then set targets by month, when she expected to achieve them. Then working back from those months, she would establish goals for each week, followed by goals for each day. When she woke up on any given morning, she would start her day with a review of the goals for that day, then go to work to see them accomplished.

Not surprisingly, she was maximizing her work as CEO.

Life planning is a blog for another day, but I love this woman’s morning ritual. She understood that starting her day right, would help set the course for the rest of her work.

Whether or not you map out your years, months, weeks and days as she does isn’t the point. Are you starting each day with a view towards intentionally living the Overboard Life, are you hoping it will just happen as you go throughout the day? I’m convinced Tommy Newberry is right, when he says that the most important part of our day is the first 15 minutes. What do you think about when you wake up? What do you read? What do you do after that bladder saving bathroom stop? Those first 15 minutes are crucial to the Overboard Life, so here are a few suggestions:

  1. Read your Bible for five minutes. Let the first thing that enters your mind be the Word of God, not last night’s facebook rants, the morning’s twitter feed or the early-breaking news of the day. Your email can wait. Start your day with your mind on the things of God, and watch how much your daily focus will follow (Philippians 4:8).
  2. Spend the next five minutes in prayer. Just turn your thoughts to God. Thank Him for the morning blessings (coffee, sleep, family, food, shelter, sunshine, rain, life), and ask Him for help as you move into the next part of living. Ask Him to make you aware of the opportunities that He wants you to take, and to learn to say no to the ones that will distract you from the Overboard Life.
  3. The final five minutes (of your 15) should be spent in scheduling. Look over the day’s schedule. Think about what’s up, what’s due, what’s important, what isn’t, who you need to call and what you need to accomplish as you live Overboard. Five minutes of scheduling in the morning can save you hours (yes, HOURS!) of wasted time later.

Once you’ve done the 15 minute challenge successfully for a few weeks, add a few minutes to each ritual, or for the brave, double it! Watch the clarity that comes when you start your day with a powerful 30 minutes of focus. If you will focus the first part of your morning on living a God-pleasing, Overboard Life, your days, weeks, months and years will take care of themselves. (I’m not discrediting goal setting. In fact, I believe as you start your morning this focused, your goals will start to become more clear!)

If you don’t already have a 15-minute morning ritual, will you commit to that now? Let us know your plan in the comments.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

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2 Responses to The 15-minute discipline (3/7)

  1. Pete says:

    Joe, great reminder this morning! If all Gods children would begin the day as you have out lined I wonder how the world around us could be influenced and God would be glorified?

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