Over the past several years, I’ve been working on being more intentional about the “everyday” things in my life.

As simple as it sounds, it can be difficult to practice. I struggled with it as recently as 1 hour ago.

See, I’ve always been an organizer. However, my approach to managing my time has changed quite a bit.

When it comes to structuring my life, one of the guiding concepts for me is prioritization.  We strive to live according to our priorities (or that which is most important).  We have to do this on multiple levels.  We have to zoom out and determine what’s most important to us and put those things first in our lives.  We also have to plan our days and choose our tasks based on what is most important.

Then, as we are doing the things we planned to do that day, we have to be sensitive to our surroundings and keep our eyes open for the opportunities that come our way that we didn’t plan.

Sometimes they are just interruptions, but, often, they are the very things that will make the most difference that day.  So, managing opportunities and prioritizing become hourly requirements (whether or not we even use a planning tool).  It becomes a mindset.

Usually, when we think of opportunities, we think of things that “come up” in the course of our life.  Someone calls and tells us about a job opportunity.  We are made aware of an opportunity to serve at an event.  Opportunities are usually not planned. They are presented to us. They make themselves known to us without our initiation.

Opportunities are things we have little control over creating, but we have A LOT of control over how we respond to them and whether or not we’re ready for them.

This can be tough for those of us who live in a culture where you’re supposed to “pave your own way to success” and “make things happen”. We definitely need to have initiative. We should continue seeking out what needs to be done and do it. But, remember, we won’t always be able to plan how the day actually plays out.

We tend to err on the other side.  We have detailed plans, vision statements and agendas (good things). We are diligently working with our noses to the desk….often, to the neglect of what is most important. If we’re not careful, we’ll run through our lives, missing out on hundreds of opportunities to make a difference in the little things.

While you’re working your plan today, be sensitive to what’s going on around you. There may be something important for you to do today that’s not in your agenda.