Life is a balancing act, and the words of Alex Cross, in James Patterson's, Along Came a Spider, "Do what you are" is a challenge when applied our daily life.
If you were to list those things that fill your life in order of importance from least to most, how much time would you admit they occupy in your day?
Do you find yourself never spending time on those people, and things, that are most important to you? Or have you managed to give the most important things in your life most of your time and attention?
In Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he emphasizes the need to reorganize the way we spend our time; based on the concept of importance - not urgency.
"Most people are “urgency addicted” and spend half their time doing things that are not important, that are urgent—things pressing, proximate, popular, and pleasant, but not really important. This is why I feel strongly that people should take time to reflect and to think deeply about what is important to them. I suggest that people take time to decided what they really want to accomplish and why."
There are things in our life that we must do despite the fact that they may not be at the top of our list. But we don't have to procrastinate accomplishing them or give them more of our time than necessary.
Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog, suggests:
"According to the old saying, if you eat a live frog first thing each morning you'll have the satisfaction of knowing it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using "eat that frog" as a metaphor for tackling the day's most challenging and most prone to procrastination task, Eat That Frog shows readers how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize their time. This means not only getting more things done, but getting the right things done."
No one likes to talk about goal setting but it's the simplest way to accomplish those things that are important.
Based on ZenHabits of Really, Simple Goal Setting, I use two things to organize my house and yard, two jobs, large extended family, two cats and writing career. A sticky note that I write my simple daily goals on and a paper (yes paper) calendar.
It's not about multi-tasking, but again, it is about what's important. If it isn't important, then why are you doing it?
With so much to do on a daily basis the final thing I leave you with is to be present.
We spend much of our one-on-one time with others anticipating what they will say next, ready to reply and have our voice heard or simply day dreaming.
Be in the moment.
There was a very popular book released in the late nineties that spend two years on the New York Times list, called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson, PH.D.
Carlson "presents common-sense advice for living a less hectic and more meaningful life. His essential message is that we get caught up in minutiae, "the small stuff," and never get around to doing what makes us or our loved ones happy."
"Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren't really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and blow them out of proportion. ... Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion's share of the work, it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things. So many people spend so much of their life energy "sweating the small stuff" that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life. "
Are you sweating the small stuff?
Today, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself if you are doing what you are.
In the words of Aristotle..."We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."