The 12 Days of Christmas: Surviving and thriving (Days 6-12: Punt)


Yep, that’s my wisdom for today.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the wisdom I’d planned to have. I had such good plans. I’d blocked out the first three days of last week. No clients. Plenty of time at the office to get caught up on other tasks. I’d promised myself I’d leave no later than 4 each day to get Christmas things done… like get a tree, do shopping, finish getting the house ready for my family who was staying with me. It was such a good plan.

Monday morning  I waltzed into the office, efficiency oozing out of my pores. I started writing the sermon I was scheduled to preach Sunday night. But then I started feeling not so good. I started getting chills. I knew what was coming.


That’s right, a rip-roaring, 102 degree fever case of the flu.  So much for my plan. I spent all week on my couch, working my way through the shows I’d recorded but had no time to watch. I discovered  I really liked The Chew. I spent a lot of time napping with my dogs.

None of which was on my list. Early in the week I contemplated my situation. None of the things I’d planned to do during the week were going to get done. It was time to punt.

In football, a coach decides to punt when there’s no real chance of gaining a first down. It’s not what they’d planned to do, but at least they could give themselves a chance to score the next time around. You’ll hear commentators talk about living to face another day.

I decided to punt. I might not get everything done that was on my list. I might not finish the touch-ups in my newly painted bathroom before my brother arrives. But the bathroom will be functional and we’ll all live. If I had to do gift cards for everyone, I could do that. I called the church to let them know that they’d better have a plan B in hand just in case I couldn’t make it.

I did wind up preaching. And after six hours of ninja shopping on Saturday, I finished my Christmas shopping. Hopefully today I’ll get a tree, and if that’s the only decorating I do, then so be it.

Because sometimes we can only do what we can do, not what we’d planned to do. Sometimes we just have to take stock of where things stand… and punt.

If all goes according to plan for you this Christmas, then blessings upon you. Enjoy it. And if it doesn’t, remember that sometimes there’s no shame in just punting. After all, you live to see another day.




Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.  – Winnie the Pooh

The maker of some new product contacted me, asking if I’d be willing to review said product in my blog. I wrote back to say that this is not that kind of a blog. It’s a blog for reflection and (hopefully) some inspiration and encouragement.

But I’m breaking that rule today.

One of the things that I see people struggle with is how to get organized. Many of us are leading at least two or three lives at once (work tasks, family tasks, church tasks, home tasks). How can we keep track of all that has to be done, much less do it? We waste a lot of time and generate a lot of frustration just trying to keep track of things.

I kept looking for some magic system. Every year around this time I started prowling the aisles of Office Depot thinking that this year I could find the perfect planner. I flirted with the Getting Things Done (R) system but found it too cumbersome. I really wanted something that was hosted on the web so that I could access it anywhere.

And then I found Todoist. Todoist is a flexible, easy task manager program. It works on Outlook, Mac and Chrome as well as having a mobile app. (I have not yet tried the mobile app.)

Here’s how it works. You create a project. Within that project you can add as many tasks as you need. You can add a due date by the calendar or by typing in things like “tomorrow” or “Wed.” You can also make it a recurring task. For example, I’m writing this today because my “blog task” is labeled “Every Wednesday.” You can easily rearrange the order of your tasks.

One of the nice things is the filter. I can bring up lists of tasks for today, tasks that are overdue or tasks for the next seven days. The basic service is free but with a $30 a year subscription, you can add labels. For example, my labels include things like “publishing,” “counseling,” and “marketing.” You can put as many labels on a task as you want. This way I can bring up a list of what needs to be done today – or I can see what’s on my list for marketing. I can add a task when I think about it – no matter how far into the future it is.

Todoist integrates with iCal and Google calendar. I can bring up iCal on my computer and immediately see not only the appointments I have for today but also the tasks that need to be done. Being a visual person, it really helps me having it all in one place. It was very easy for me to learn.

If you’ve been struggling with keeping track of things you have to do or if you’d just like to be a little more efficient, I highly recommend Todoist.