What is it that causes many of us to not get things done?
When we come to the end of the day do we look back and say that we accomplished what needed done? Do we feel good about having done the important things that day? Or do we look back and wonder where the day went?
Often we start our day with a list of things that we feel really need done that day and start out enthusiastic about making progress on our projects; only to finish the day frustrated that we didn’t get the important things done during the day. We wonder what happened? How did the day get away from us?
In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey discusses this issue and how to help avoid it. He discusses the need to evaluate our motivations and direction in various areas of live and decide what if most important for us to achieve in life. He discusses our need to evaluate our “Roles” in life, such as the role of a parent, or business professional. Then decide each week and day what activities will help us move forward towards the goals we have in that role. This gives us more of a since of direction. He calls it living by the compass more than by the clock.
In one section he admonishes us that “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” In another section he asks us to consider these two questions:
“What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your personal life?”
“What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your professional or work life?”
These are critical questions we each must ask and answer for ourselves. What one activity should we be working on today? What one activity, if done superbly well, would make great positive impact on our life? That is the main thing that we should be keeping as the main thing in our life. This is what we should be focusing our efforts on.
By developing the habit of previewing our day each morning and deciding what are the most important things to get done today, then focusing on those important items, rather than the trivial things that tend to eat up our time, we can end each day knowing that we did the activities that will make significant positive results in our lives.
The Power of Focus!
By first analyzing what is truly important to be done; what truly aligns with true north on our life’s compass; then setting our mind to accomplish those items first before doing the less important things; we can know that the day was profitable for us. By first seeing the importance of an action, we tend to be able to keep better focus on it.
We need to tell ourselves that the particular items are important and of much greater value than the trivial things that we might get distracted with. In this way we can remain focused on getting them done first. The trivial things will get done in their own time.
Balance in life.
Of course, this all takes into account that there may be interruptions that need to be addressed, such as family emergencies. But by having this sense of what is most important to get done, we can re-focus on the important things once we finish with the interruptions of life.
One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Rohn who admonished us to review each day at day’s end to see if we accomplished what was important or if we need to make improvements. Each day should either applaud us or prod us to do better. See the quote at one of my other posts; Look back on each day.
Mr Covey gives us great insight into how to evaluate what is important in our lives and how to work to focus on the important things each day so we accomplish our goals in the various roles of our lives. If you haven’t read First Things First, I would highly recommend getting a copy for your library and reading it.
Here’s to your Success!
Jerry D Ross
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