One of the most important choices we make is what we will do each day of our lives. You may think that decision has already been made for you. You will get up, go to work, do whatever until you go to bed, and then you’ll get up and repeat. That is what too many lives look like. However, even accounting for the hours you are working, you still have a lot of time each day to do with as you please.
Time is like money. You can either spend it or invest it. Spending time is just that. We do things, but at the end of the day we have little show for it. We’ve been busy, but we haven’t accomplished much. The other alternative is that we invest time. By investing time I mean that we do things that truly matter. Those are the things that reflect the priorities we have established for our lives.
So many of us really don’t have any real priorities for our lives. There’s nothing we really want to accomplish so we spend each day going through the motions looking forward to Friday and the weekend we’ll be away from work. That’s not much of a way to live 50-60 years of our lives.
Before I retired I set certain goals each year that I wanted to achieve over the next few months to the next few years, and I determined that each day I would work on at least one of those goals. Some were rather aggressive that required a lot of focus and commitment on my part. Others were less aggressive and were things that could be accomplished fairly quickly and easily. But, they all kept me focused and gave me purpose. I could not afford to waste time if I wanted to accomplish the goals I had set. Those goals formed my priorities for living each day of my life.
Those goals gave me the focus I needed to earn two graduate degrees and publish eight books. They enabled me to get out of debt and save towards retirement. Those goals reminded me of the important of spending more time with my family setting aside date nights each week with my wife and taking vacations together. In short, that goal-setting is what allowed me to accomplish much of what I’ve done in my life.
There are a number of things you have to do to live out the priorities you have set for you life. Perhaps the most important one is that you have to control your calendar. If you don’t own your calendar, someone else will, and their priorities for your life won’t be the same you have. I made sure my priorities found their way into my daily calendar before opening it up to anyone else. That meant our weekly date night was written into the calendar weeks in advance so I could tell anyone who wanted to meet with me at that time that I already had a previous appointment. When working on my educational goals I set aside time in my calendar for reading as a great deal of reading was required for every class. Every goal was programmed into the calendar, and each of them were tracked on a daily basis to ensure that I was not falling into a bad habit of spending time instead of investing it.
So, what are your priorities today? Are they priorities you have set for yourself or are you trying to fit your life into everyone else’s demands and priorities? Is it your priority to work on your goals for the day, or are you going to help everyone achieve their goals? You get to choose that every day, but, like all choices, there will be consequences.
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