I constantly hear people around me saying, “I’m just too busy”, “I don’t have time to do it all”, “there’s not enough hours in a day”. Does that sound familiar to you?
To live a fulfilling, balanced life we need to be more in conscious control of our habits and lifestyle. Effective personal management creates freedom.
Having spent 15 years of the first part of my career in professional health care and nursing, I spent a good deal of time with people who were faced with a terminal illness or potentially fatal diagnosis.
The common thread with these people was the realisation that so much of their life had been caught up with doing the urgent things that showed up in life every day, and that they neglected the most important things, which was usually their family, relationships and their health and time out for themselves.
You see, it’s the easiest thing in the world to neglect the important things in your life and give in to the urgent ones. One of the greatest skills you can ever develop in your life is, not only to tell the two apart, but also to be able to prioritise your time between the two.
Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on the important things in life:
- Determine what your values in life are – Our values drive our behaviour and our decisions, so being clear about what you value in life will help you to stay on track and make decisions regarding what’s most important to you.
- Have a clear vision of your future – Having clarity around your long and short-term vision will also allow you to prioritise things that are most important to you.
- Set goals for all areas of your life. – Keep life balanced by setting goals in all areas of life e.g. family and relationships, health and fitness, finances, business, personal time out and hobbies etc.
- Spend 15 minutes each day planning – When we plan and prioritise, we control events instead of falling prey to events that control us. When we plan our most important tasks and events, we reduce the amount of time they take, improve the quality of the results they produce and reduce the stress in our lives.
I want to share with you a thought-provoking excerpt from the famous psychologist and author, Denis Waitley.
You may have heard the story about the analogy of the “circus juggler” to each of us as we try to balance our personal and professional priorities. I have heard the story repeated by many keynote speakers and have used it in previous books, but have never been able to trace the identity of the original author.
When the circus juggler drops a ball, he lets it bounce and picks it up on the next bounce without losing his rhythm or concentrations. He keeps right on juggling. Many times we do the same thing. We lose our jobs, but get another one on the first or second bounce. We may drop the ball on a sale, an opportunity to move ahead, or in a relationship, and we either pick it up on the rebound or get a new one thrown in to replace what we just dropped.
However, some of the balls or priorities we juggle don’t bounce. The more urgent priorities associated with self-imposed deadlines and workloads have more elasticity than the precious, delicate relationships which are as fragile as fine crystal. Balance involves distinguishing between the priorities we juggle that bounce from the ones labelled “loved ones”, “health” and “moral character” that may shatter if we drop them.
The reason I always ask my seminar attendees to list the benefits of reaching their goals is so they can arrange them in the true order of importance to them, and give them sufficient amount of attention as they juggle them within their time constraints.
Handle your priorities with care. Some of them just don’t bounce!