Today, I would like to start by wishing you all a productive day. But what makes a productive day anyway? How do you measure these things? How do you determine at the end of the day, whether you have been productive or not? Is it by the number of tasks you have accomplished? What should a productive use of your time look like? Well, here’s my highly subjective, open-to-dispute definition:

Productivity is a measure of how well you use your time.

Do you agree? Disagree? Or agree to disagree? Ok, let’s come back to it later.

Time is the scarcest resource in the world. We are all given exactly 24 hours in every day. How much you can do with that time determines how productive you are. There is however a misconception about time. Some people think that we all have equal amounts of time and so we all have an equal chance at being productive. This is not true. Each day may contain 24 hours, but we don’t all have an equal amount of days to live, do we?

The other day, in church, the Pastor said something that chilled my spine. I’ll paraphrase: “Humans are like ice cubes taken out of the freezer. With every passing minute, we are melting”.

How true. Look at your face in the mirror this morning. Is this the way you looked when you were five years old? Why do women spend more time getting ready as they get older? Isn’t it because there are more blemishes to patch up? When men lose their hair, and start to stoop, are these all not signs that they are melting?

Now, here’s the thing: we are not all melting at the same rate. Some of us have less time than others. The problem is none of us knows how much time we have before we melt. What bothers me, however, is the fact that we don’t seem to realise that we are melting. It seems we take it for granted that we will live forever.  We won’t o!

God knows best in all things, but the scary truth is that any of you listening to this message could be taken away from us before this very year ends. It could be you. It could be me. I certainly pray for you all every morning. I don’t want to lose a single one of you. But sadly, it’s not up to me.

This is why I’m startled by the way we all act as if we will live forever. We don’t know how much time we have left, which means we don’t have time to waste!

Years ago, when I became ill and was forced to start drinking water again, it was difficult, but one of the things I did to make it easier was to pour my water over lots of ice cubes. It chilled the water and made it more pleasant to drink. Whenever I finished drinking a glass of water, I would look at the remaining cubes and think, what a waste, so instead of leaving them to melt without a purpose, I would pour more water over them and drink it up as well. I would keep doing this, pouring less water over them each time, because the more they melted, the less able they were to chill a full glass of water.

As humans, we tend to do the opposite. We postpone everything ’til later. We think we have all the time in the world, so we push all the daunting tasks to some imaginary later date, without realising that we may not have a later date. And even if we do, we would have melted even more by then than we have today, and so we won’t be able to do as much. Why give your future weaker self-more work to do and leave your present stronger self-sitting idle and picking your teeth?

If today was your last day, what would you do with it? That should be the question you must ask yourself every morning, because you don’t have time!

Why are you not starting to live your dream today? That is what you must ask yourself this morning, because you don’t have time.

When are you going to call him/her and apologise? That is your question for today, because you don’t have time.

All you can afford is one bag of cement. Is that not a start? This is what you must answer today, because my friends, you don’t have time.

Productivity is a measure of how well you use your time. Do you agree now?

My people, it’s a new day. You are blessed to be alive in it. Live every day like it’s your last, and do the heavy lifting today. Fill your glass today, because you’re strong enough to chill it. Fill your glass today, so that tomorrow, you’ll only have a half-glass to deal with. Fill your glass today, because you have been given today. It’s all you have, so act accordingly.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and tomorrow is not promised, so I can’t waste today.