Can Daily Reflection Help You Get the Right Things Done?

Can Daily Reflection Help You Get the Right Things Done?

Can Daily Reflection Help You Get the Right Things Done? Check out two different approaches.While a traditional list can remind you of what to do, daily reflection can help you determine if you’re doing the right things. At the end of the day, you may have everything crossed off your list, but you are left with this nagging feeling that you let someone down. Maybe that someone was you.

Or regardless of how much you accomplished, you’re worried about tomorrow. A traditional to-do list can’t help you there.

I don’t want to go mindlessly through my days, checking off tasks. I want to stop and think about what I’m doing and why. I’ve  found both a digital and an analog tool for reflection that I recommend.

Note: If you are a follower of this blog and wonder where I’ve been, read to the end for an update.

A prayer journal that puts worry in its place

Prayer Journal

I was given this little prayer journal as a speaker thank-you gift. You can imagine I have a lot of these kinds of things hanging around. But I was blown away by the power of this simple journal.

I use mine at night and answer the following questions:

  • How did I experience God today?
  • What worries do I need to turn over to God?
  • Thank you God for…

There is a space for a written prayer to God and then a later reflection on that prayer. There are also Scriptures for reflection.

Why I’m Crazy About It

  • Every day I’m directed to think about how God spoke to me. As a Christian, that is how I determine if I am doing the right things. I’m surprised every time that I haven’t thought about it, until reflecting on the question.
  • Turning over my worries to God each evening preserves my sleep and saves me time I can devote to doing the right things.
  • It trains me to pray about everything.

The Five Minute Journal -- make sure you're doing the right things today.

The 5 Minute Journal

I needed another journaling app like I needed another hobby, but I read about it in a Chandler Bolt email and he was really enthusiastic. I had to see what he was so excited about. The iOS app reminded me to journal without me having to set up reminders. Like the Prayer Journal, 5 Minute Journal asks what you’re grateful for, but is proactive in the morning, asking what would make today great. I’m also asked for a daily affirmation (a little positive labeling is good to counteract all the negative).

In the evening, I’m asked for 3 amazing things that happened today and how I could have made today better. It has the capability of adding a photo, but since I already use Project Life to document my year, I don’t use that aspect of the app.

Why I’m Crazy About It

  • I love being reminded to reflect by my phone. When I get the reminder, I’m excited to answer the questions.
  • The questions put me in a good mood. All of them have a positive focus.
  • I like to see if I end up doing what I thought would make today great. You aren’t looking at what you wrote when you answer the question. You will eventually see some patterns.

Don’t have an iOS device? The 5 Minute Journal has been published in book form, too.

What tools do you use for daily reflection?


A productivity pal recently asked me, “What happened to you?” Fair question! It’s been six months since I’ve blogged regularly about productivity. I’ll give you the answer in bullet form (you know, to save time).

  • I’ve been spending most of my writing time creating elementary curriculum. Productivity posts have taken a back seat.
  • I didn’t feel I had the right to blog about productivity until my A Year of Living Productively ebook was done. I’ve since determined that this makes no sense.
  • I got stuck writing the ebook because I thought I had to say something new. Since there is nothing new under the sun, I had a dilemma. My current plan for the book is to organize my blog posts for easy readability with an update on how the various productivity hacks are working for me now. The goal is to have the book ready on Amazon by the end of the year. It will be free!

Looking forward to connecting with you regularly. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. You can also subscribe to productivity-only posts on this blog. You’ll be the first to know when the book is ready.

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How to Get More Prayers Answered

How to Get More Prayers Answered

How to Get More Prayers Answered


Let’s be honest. You’d pray more if you felt like more of your prayers were answered. Why aren’t your prayers being answered?

This post isn’t going to delve into all the many reasons your prayer may not be answered in the way you hoped. Instead, I want to share a very practical reason you and I aren’t checking off as many answered prayers as we could be. The simple steps necessary to address this problem can have a huge payoff:

  • Your faith will grow as you see that God really is hearing you.
  • You’ll pray more as you come to believe that a prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
  • You’ll encourage others to pray because of your own experience.

A Lesson from Productivity

I have so much I want to do that I’ve long been fascinated with finding ways to motivate myself and to make the best use of my time. That’s why I’ve been doing a whole series on Fridays called A Year of Living Productively. I’ve also been blessed to have a number of visitors to those posts who wouldn’t ordinarily visit a Christian blog like mine.

One of the basic teachings of productivity is that you have to make your tasks actionable. In other words, I don’t put ‘be happy,’ ‘be strong spiritually,’ or ‘be healthy’ on my to-do list. I would have no idea if I’d finished those tasks.

The problem is we regularly put those kinds of things on God’s to-do list! We pray that we and others would be happy, strong, and healthy. Those are wonderful prayers and we don’t have to stop praying them, but if we want to see answered prayers, we need to make some changes.

Start recording your prayer requests. If you have no record of what you’ve done during a given month, you’re going to be dumbfounded if I ask you what you’ve accomplished in the past 30 days. In the same way, God is very busy acting on your behalf, but you have to write down how to remember. Begin keeping a prayer journal or use an app to track your requests. Here is a free prayer journal printable with plenty of room to record the results. I love Pocket Prayer Pro for the iPhone because I can schedule requests.

Phrase your prayer requests in actionable terms. Instead of praying for happiness, pray that you or a loved one would rate your joy as 7 or higher for the day. Instead of praying for your child or grandchild to be strong spiritually, pray that they would show interest when you talk with them about God. Instead of praying for health, pray for a specific indicator of health, such as a medical test result. Exactly how you phrase your request doesn’t matter as long as you will be able to clearly determine that your prayer has been answered. Be sure to include short- and long-term requests, just as we include these kinds of tasks on our own lists. You can absolutely keep praying general prayers, too. Fortunately, God doesn’t give us prayer request limits. Isn’t He incredible?

Follow-up. When we work on our own task lists, we want to know the results. We find out if our boss is happy with the report, if the small repair we did worked, or if we are actually losing weight by eating right and exercising. Experiencing more answered prayer is no different. We shouldn’t just pray for our loved one to have peace during a medical procedure; we should ask them if they did! Then let them know you were praying for them. If you pray in the morning, look over your prayer list that evening and see what God got done.

Recording the answers to prayer this way can uplift your faith, your family, and your church. When you or someone you love is discouraged, you can show them the record of answered prayer in your life.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6


What Joy Is Mine


Do you have an actionable prayer request that I can pray for you? Please contact me if you have a private request.

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