I'm guessing that If I asked you, 'Who's choosing your priorities and managing your to-do list' that you'd fire back instantly that 'I AM!' Hopefully that's true, but is it really?
Did you build a meaningful plan of action for your day or are you just letting your inbox, social media cravings, or feelings choose what you do next? My bet is that your inbox, feelings, text messages, and ads popping up your screen dictate most of your actions throughout the day. And, at the end of day, you may not have completed anything that is of vital importance to your life's purpose or mission.
And, I know this from too much personal experience. It's called the 'Tyranny of the Urgent' and it stalks our priorities and zaps our energy and leaves us breathless and exhausted but not fulfilled. There's a little booklet by the name of 'Tyranny of the Urgent' that helps us understand the power and the path to proper priorities. It's a quick read and I hope you'll read it soon.
Here's a quote from that booklet: "Prayerful waiting on God is indispensable to effective service. Like the time-out in a football game, it enables us to catch our breath and fix new strategy. As we wait for directions, the Lord frees us from the tyranny of the urgent. He shows us the truth about Himself, ourselves, and our tasks. He impresses on our minds the assignments He want us to undertake. The need itself is not the call; the call must come form the God who knows our limitation. “The Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14). It is not God who loads us until we bend or crack with an ulcer, nervous breakdown, heart attack, or stroke. These come from our inner compulsions coupled with the pressure of circumstances."
"It is not God who loads us until we bend or crack with an ulcer, nervous breakdown, heart attack, or stroke. These come from our inner compulsions coupled with the pressure of circumstances."
And, although that little booklet is dated, it's still powerful and helpful in helping us prioritize our lives.
But, for today, let me suggest six simple steps to help you live on purpose and be sure that you are tackling a prioritized timely task list than gains ground on the objectives you have chosen for yourself.
1. Remember what it is that you truly want to accomplish with your life.
You only get one life and wasting your time, energy and talents- your life, is not an option. Steven Covey said it this way, 'Begin with the end in mind."
If you have trouble knowing what your priorities should be it's because you've forgotten what your main aim is or maybe you've never taken time to figure that out. You believe that you're simply too busy doing 'stuff' that you cannot afford the luxury of a well-thought out purpose statement or at least a grand dream of something you hope to accomplish with the life you've been blessed with.
2. Take a few minutes to do a 'brain dump' of everything that you have to do today.
It has to be written down or at least typed into a list on your word processor. Every single thing that you can think of goes on this list. If you don't dump it ALL out on paper your brain will remain cluttered and jumbled and unable to do anything but respond to the next squeaky wheel for jumping squirrel flitting through the nearest screen. You'll stay stuck, you'll feel unsettled and 'lost' and you'll waste another day. So, do it now, grab a sheet of paper and write every single thing down that is on your mind. EVERYTHING. Yes, 'buy toilet paper', 'walk the dog', 'call mom', 'feed the turtle' -- EVERYTHING. I'm gonna wait for you to that. When you've done it then come back to this screen.
I'm waiting ..........
I'm still waiting ........
DO IT NOW!
.......hmmmmmmmm, did you do it? If yes, proceed, if not go back and read #2 and don't pass this until you've done it! I mean it. If you pass this point without doing #2 then all the curses ever invoked for not passing on an email forward or failing to respond to needy facebook post asking if you're really a friend ... will ALL HAPPEN TO YOU AT ONCE BEFORE THE SUN SETS TODAY!
NOW, that's better. Don' you feel better now. At least you can SEE all that crappolla that your brain has been trying to sort out and you know what you've felt overwhelmed and confused about what to do next and you've just been resorting to letting others hijack your day by sending you emails and texts and calling you incessantly. So, now that you've got it all on paper -- you did do it didn't you? If you didn't you're gonna be bitten by the fleas of a thousand camels while you sleep tonight.
3. NOW that you have a list let's do this with it ...
A. Circle the items that will move you toward your ultimate purpose.
B. Underline the ones that your boss, wife or authority in your life deems important for you to do.
C. Scratch out anything that you no longer wish to do for whatever reason and as you do, say something to yourself like this, " Mr/Mrs brain I know that you've been thinking about doing this but I'm deciding today that I no longer choose to do this, so mr/mrs brain I want you to accept my wisdom on this and leave me alone about this item from now on. I simply want this item to leave my mental radar and leave me with peace and white space to work on more important/fun/vital/interesting and life giving tasks. Thank you. That is all." This is called a mental negotiation and if you don't do this your brain may think that you're not serious and then keep bugging you.
4. Now, beside each Circled and Underlined 'thing' write an A, B, or C.
A means 'this is important to me and I choose to do it today.' B means, I will do this if I have time but it's not mission critical and there is no deadline attached to it that impacts me or someone I'm responsible to. C means, I'm gonna push this one back and think on it. I may choose to move this on to another day's list, but I may also choose to toss it in the trash can and never think of it again.
[ It's vital that you develop a mind-frame of accepting responsibility for what you prioritize with A, B, or C and what you scratch out. This act of taking responsibility gives you great power in choosing how you will use this one life you've been given. The moment your brain objects with something like, 'I HAVE TO DO ........' then it's your job to shut that down and reframe it immediately. You don't 'have to do' anything. You don't even have to do stuff your boss wants you to do -- you may get fired but you don't have to do it. Until you accept responsibility for what you choose to do, when you choose to do it and how you choose to do it you will play the role of a victim and you'll continue to feel overwhelmed and helpless and victimized. And, you'll wallow in self pity and doubt and wander around in a mental fog like a zombie. And, IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT BECAUSE NOW YOU KNOW THE TRUTH. The truth only sets you free if you take action on that truth. ]
Now, pay attention to the A's and add a number beside each one like A1, A2, A3 -- this is your chosen order of action. You'll choose tackle these items in that order. There are differing opinions on whether to tackle the super easy stuff or super hard stuff first. For now, I'll leave that for another post, but I'm just glad we've gotten this far!
Now, take your A list and enter them into you calendar system. Estimate how much time you need for each and then enter them in order of priority.
5. When you're ready to roll and tackle your A list this is a vital step -- shut down every distraction yo possibly can and put your head down and WORK!
Set your timer for 50 minutes and go as hard as you can -- and, this is vital -- DO NOT CHECK YOUR EMAIL OR SOCIAL MEDIA OF ANY KIND or you'll be sucked back into that priority and life sucking vortex of OPP -- Other Peoples Priorities -- and you won't complete what you've already chosen as important. At fifty minutes take a break and do something physical, get a drink of water, walk, stretch and then come back and reset for another fifty minutes of production. If you can knock our two or three rounds like this today you're productivity and results will be way above what you've been doing sitting at a desk for eight hours surfing social media and responding to emails and texts and playing some cool game on your latest gizmo.
6. Get as many As and Bs done as you can and then call it a day. Give yourself a break. Tomorrow morning, pick up your list and build a new one and repeat.
Hope this helps. I'd love to know if it did!
Also, if you have ideas to add just let me know.
Have a super ON PURPOSE Day! You'll enjoy it a lot more and feel a sense of accomplishment because you're living life on purpose!
Here's to your highest success,