A Question that Might Change Your Week

If you are anything like me, you enter into a new week filled with all sorts of goals, ideas, dreams, plans, and intentions.

You’ll take more pictures.

You’ll do more scrapping.

You’ll spend more time with the kids.

You’ll watch less TV.

You’ll exercise more.

You’ll eat less.

You’ll read more.

You’ll cook every day.

You’ll do your housework earlier.

And so on.

And then, if you are like me, real life gets in the way. Real life looks like grocery shopping and laundry and driving kids around and buying a last minute birthday gift and spending too long on Facebook and getting sucked into another show and helping a child with math.

It’s easy to get to the end of a week of doing these tasks and ask,“What happened? What did I accomplish?”

Looking at your to-do list may not provide many clues.

I have a suggestion, though. Instead of heading into a new week — to-do list in hand — asking yourself, “What do I need to get done today?” why not ask a new question?

“What will I regret not doing?”

You see, I think our life gets commandeered by the urgent and the truly important gets overlooked. It’s called the tyranny of the urgent. And like any tyrant, the urgent expresses oppressive power and the important sits waiting and cowering in a corner. Or in a letter not written. Or in a child not hugged. Or in a spouse not loved. Or in an apology not offered. Or in a gift not given. Or in a wounded heart not comforted.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, the important things make way for the urgent. And one day I’m afraid, we’ll have lost our chance.

To-do lists are good things. They keep us organized. They give us vision and direction. But they focus far too much on things that don’t last and don’t matter.

Instead, we need to approach what needs to be done with the question,

“What will I regret not doing?”

Tonight, what will you regret not having done?

Next week, what will regret not having done?

Next year, what will you regret not having done?

In ten years, what will you regret not having done?

When you are eighty and sitting on your front porch sipping your sweet tea, what will you regret not having done.

Go do it today.