For my birthday on Tuesday, I took the day off and read "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown. And before I continue, let me just say it is an absolutely brilliant book that immediately topped my top online business books list.
Greg emphatically states:
"If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will."
Interestingly enough, I had started writing this post before reading Greg's book and had come to the strong conclusion that what I have in my life is simply the result of what I have made my priorities.
There is no other conclusion.
My priorities are either what I have actively chosen to be important to me, or (sadly, more often) what I've allowed others to say is important for me.
When I am passive in deciding what my priorities are, then the most urgent things that take my time come to the top. And, in case you need reminding like I do, the most urgent things are RARELY the most important things in our lives.
I specifically launched the 15 Minute Mentor Program with this concept in mind. I understood there are so many things in our lives competing for priority - but simply starting with making 15 minutes a priority, we can AND WILL reach our dreams with efficiency, predictability, and accountability.
As Greg would say, "living by design, not by default".
There are a myriad of "good" things out there that we can use our time on. There are very few "best" things for us. Each person has different "bests" or "highest points of contribution" (another phrase coined by Greg).
Let me just read you the point of Greg's entire revolution found on the back of his book:
"This is not a time-management strategy, but a systematic discipline you apply every time you are faced with a decision. By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our choices so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter."
Our responsibility, then, is not to get the most done in our life, but simply do what we are meant to do (big or small, fancy or simple, grandiose or basic).
So where do we start?
I propose starting with carving 15 minutes out of your day to focus on what matters most: your biggest dream, your biggest regret, your deepest purpose. [Then, quite honestly, I recommend reading Essentialism to cut out the "fluff" in your life - the good things that aren't best things.]
What do I know I should be doing but can't do because of lack of time, energy, or priorities?