Think about what you did over the last couple of hours. If you ranked all of the most important things you have to do, did you spend your time on activities that advance the top items from your list?
There are times when I feel like I can’t work on my highest and best purpose. Over the last few months, I’ve felt like I’m in a funk. I’m stuck with commitments, promises, and others’ expectations of me. I often choose to waste time until I have to do something I don’t want to do. When it comes to being productive toward my greatest goals, I’m my own worst enemy.
Have you ever felt that way?
You’ve heard of, and maybe even read the pamphlet, Tyranny of the Urgent, by Charles E. Hummel. He describes how urgent things crowd out important things. Important things are almost never urgent. Urgent issues scream for attention. Important ones whisper. Urgent issues are rude, interrupting us and making us do things we know aren’t the most important. Important things are polite, but cost us greatly when ultimately incomplete. Important things like time with family, making a difference, and finding great ways to help others are never urgent. Urgent things are seldom important.
The most important step to focuson important issues instead of urgent ones is to know yourself. What is most important to you? Have you ever decided. Make a list of your activities and “force rank” them. Decide which one is first, second, etc. Don’t settle for High, Middle and Low or Diamond, Emerald and Ruby. Decide that something is most important.
Once you get an idea of your highest, most important purpose, take some notes over the next couple of weeks to determine how much of your time you spend working toward your greatest purpose?
After you’ve ranked your activities in order of importance, I’ve found 5 ideas to make sure our best energy goes toward our greatest purpose. Care to add any?
- Do the most important thing first. My email interrupts me all day long. Why do I read it first thing in the morning. My best mornings are spent reading something great and then writing. I also have a number of friends to pray for. Do your most important work first.
- Identify your big time wasters. I mentioned email above but my biggest time waster is the TV. My goal is to read more and exercise more. Weeknight TV is the big killer. Identify your big time sink and kill it. Budget time to it and stick to the budget.
- Say no to something (preferably a big time waster) every day. Don’t just say no, substitute an activity. Tonight I will read. Tonight I will write. Tonight I will lay on the floor and do abdominal exercises. Every day you stick your finger in the eye of your time wasters is a day you elevated your purpose.
- Make sure you do something more important than whatever you say no to. Schedule your activity. Budget your wasted time. Don’t say no to an 8 and then waste time on a 10 or a 12. If you say no to an 8, do a 6 or a 4 or a #1 activity. Move yourself to your greatest purpose.
- Do something for someone else. You can elevate any purpose if you do it for someone else. Anything done for someone else is better than something done for purely selfish reasons. Going to the grocery store or to get lunch? Offer to pick up something for someone else. Everything you do counts. Any way you can elevate your most routine activities, the more you will elevate your purpose. Buy someone random’s lunch. Tip big.
Do you have some ideas you would share? How do you maximize your energy working on your greatest purpose? Share that with us and help us spend our time on our greatest purpose.