“I just want my life to count!” Is this your heart cry, former procrastinators? It’s certainly mine. It’s one reason I was plagued by the regret procrastination caused. I didn’t get around to things I thought were significant.
Determining priorities and building them into our routines so we actually give them attention takes away regret because we’re doing what we feel counts. For the Christian what counts are things of eternal significance. How amazing that eternal significance can be found in flying water to earthquake victims or tying a child’s shoe. God- directed priorities come in all shapes and sizes and are worked out in wondrous ways.
I’ve found help in a book called Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It’s about priorities and time. McKeown’s study brought him to realize the importance of family and how little time we have left in our lives. His book helps the reader determine what is priority, how to safeguard it, how to act on it. From his book:
- By investing in fewer things, we make significant progress in the things that matter most.
- Increased options and opportunities lead to diffused efforts and distraction from our best contribution.
- We choose. Not choosing gives others that power. Almost everything is “noise” or non-essential. (This last can be a bit hard for a mom, but helps us be alert.)
- Trade-offs are not optional. If I try to do it all, everything suffers. Ask not “How can I do both?” but “Which problem do I want?”
- Trade-offs represent significant opportunity. Don’t ask, “What do I have to give up?” Ask, “What do I want to go big on?” Embrace the trade-off, be deliberate, and strategic.
- Reserve blank space on your calendar every day.
- We are built to play and built through play. Play helps us see possibilities, is an antidote to stress, positively effects the executive function of the brain (planning, decisions, etc.).
- Sleep protects and enables our ability to contribute, think, create, perform – and prioritize.
- When deciding among options, if it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no. Saying yes when we shouldn’t can mean we have to say no to something more meaningful.
- Eliminate or don’t take on. Say no gracefully, firmly. Exercise serious discipline to cut out competing options that distract you from your true intention. This gives you focus, energy, space to blossom.
- The Latin root of the word “decision” – cis or cid – literally means “to cut” or “to kill.”
- Use good times to create a buffer for the bad. Work early and ahead.
- Produce more by removing more instead of doing more.
- Identify and remove obstacles.
- Routine is a powerful tool for removing obstacles. The right routine is genius.
- We can multitask. (Run the washer while teaching) We cannot multifocus.
What trade off will you deliberately make so you can go big on a priority?