A reality that many of us just don’t want to face is that we spend too much of our time on things that don’t really matter; we major in minor things.
Every day, I come across people who have their priorities backwards. They spend considerable time and energy on things that are inherently not important, either to them or society at large, and that actually distract from their stated goals. They:
- Can’t separate the urgent from important
- Easily lose sight of the big picture
- Struggle to let go of something insignificant
- Feel the need to always have the last word
- Make poor decisions about their time and energy on a daily basis
- Don’t know how to say no
A great deal of their energy is also wasted on negativity. They fixate on the unsatisfying dinner they ate at the restaurant last night. They consume themselves with replaying the frustrating customer service experience they encountered. They spend hours of their precious time complaining about things instead of moving on from them. It’s quite possible that, due to these factors, they are frustrated with where they are in life.
In the grand scheme of things, this is all minor stuff. You know this type of person. You might even be this person. I know I certainly have been.
High achievers don’t live their life in this way. Instead, they focus their time and energy on what matters most; on things that are positive and productive. The rest, they let go, delegate or move on from.
If this sounds like you, here are a few tips to up your game, move up to the majors and make a bigger impact.
1) Mind Your Time: Keep track of how you spend your time for a week. Note how much of that time is spent on things that are important to you (i.e. that support your core values or goals). It should be around 80 percent.
2) For Not Against: Spend your time advocating for a cause, not against one. Negative energy is self-defeating. While there are certainly many injustices worth standing up to, its generally healthier to be for something than against something.
3) Delegate & Outsource: Sure, there are things that need to get done, but that doesn’t mean you are the best person to do it. Think about where your time is best spent (i.e. on your unique abilities). For things that fall outside those core competencies, it’s very likely that there are smarter, more efficient ways to get it done that require less of your time.
4) Value Your Time. Our time has value; it’s an opportunity cost. I’d argue that at least a $15 an hour value should be applied to anything we do to get at the true cost. A colleague recently shared that, to calculate the value of their day, a CEO or business leader should use the annual revenue of their company or division and divide it by the working days in a year. For example, if you run a $1M dollar business, it would be $3,800 a day. If its $5M, that number is $19,000.
5) Remember the Big Picture: We tend to get overly preoccupied by what’s in front of us versus what’s most important. Always keep the bigger picture in mind, whether that’s a relationship, a long-term goal or your priorities.
When you reflect back on your life, think about what the accomplishments/investments of your time will be. Are they things you really care about?
Quote of The Week
“Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.”