“Action Expresses Priorities.” – Mohandas Gandhi
2 weeks ago, I found out my tough loving, brutally honest high school football coach tragically and unexpectedly passed away. When I received information about the dates and times of his memorial and subsequent funeral, panic set in. How would I be able to attend his services amidst a 70+ hour week? After taking a few giant deep breaths, it hit me… showing up and paying my respects to a man who set my life on a positive trajectory is more important than literally any meeting I have scheduled for the entire week (and year). By prioritizing my commitment to attending his services, I felt a lightness sweep through my entire body and my energy began to flow freely.
For many of us, an average day feels like a frenetic annihilation of pressing tasks. It’s the ding of an upcoming Outlook event, the buzz of an incoming text or the notification of a new email. While it feels satisfying to complete these seemingly urgent to-do’s, we run the risk of neglecting the deeply important. And there is an essential distinction to understand – often what feels urgent is actually unimportant. It just feels important.
In a perfect world, we would accomplish 100% of our daily to-do’s, but that’s impossible. So how can we let go of what feels important and make room for what is actually important? Steven Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says the key is “not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Therefore, the first step is to get clear on what is most important to you.
Take out a pen and make list of the top 5 items that are of profound importance to you. Maybe its exercise, rest, a healthy diet or spending time with family. Now, with your priorities defined, when you are pulled towards an “urgent” request, phone call or an email, the second step is to take a pause and ask yourself, “Can this wait? Would acting on this task serve my deeper priorities?” As we give more energy to our priorities, we get better at devoting time to the truly important pursuits in life. It is never easy, but by realigning our time with our priorities, we can extract more joy and fulfillment out of this short, precious, beautiful life!
Enjoy what comes of today, friends.