Are we spending time on the things that are truly important?
Most things are NOT important. There are a very many urgent things that we spend our time with, but most are not actually important.
Think about it. How much time do you spend every day checking Facebook? Worrying about tomorrow and the next day and next year? Fixing emergencies that come up? Spending time on trivial things? How many of these are truly important?
Usually, none of them. So how can we make sure we are spending time on the things that actually matter?
There’s a principle called Pareto’s Law that says that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts, and vice versa, 20% of our results come from 80% of our efforts. In other words, a majority of the time what we do has little impact and is not moving us much closer to our goals, but some things have huge impact and move us forward at light speed.
So we need to find ways to focus more of our energy on the important things, and less on the trivial, nonessential things we encounter every day. But how?
Here are 4 ways I’ve found useful in making sure that a greater portion of my time is spent on doing what I was made to do.
1. Habits and Routines.
Routines aren’t glamorous. In fact, most people, especially creatives, look down at routine as boring, restricting, and just no fun. But the opposite couldn’t be more true.
If we have strict routines set up, that takes away the thinking and planning that goes into the “just wing it,” off the cuff approach to many of our days. This frees us up to focus on doing work that matters, and spending time on the important things.
Routine and habits have been scientifically proven to free up brain space so we can think more deeply, and more creatively, because in routine, we don’t have to think about what we’re doing. And therein lies the beauty.
Powerful habits lead to a powerful life. What habits are you forming?
Takeaway: Have a strict routine for your days, it will free you up to focus on what is truly important.
2. Play Your Song.
At some point in life, we find what we were born to do. Our passion, our song, our reason for being alive. And when we find our song, we can spend the rest of our lives singing it.
But what if we haven’t found our passion yet? That’s OK. Look around and you’ll see this is the case for most people. But keep looking.
Notice what excites you, what makes you come alive, or what pisses you off. These may be hints as to what you were made to do. Keep your eyes and your heart open. Sooner or later, you’ll stumble upon that thing that you were born to do.
Takeaway: Do what you are passionate about as much as possible, and if you haven’t found what that is yet, keep your eyes open.
3. Be Present, Always.
We all have those friends who can’t seem to be able to put their phone down just for a minute. Or worse, they completely lack awareness of their actions. And nobody wants to be that guy, although most of us, more than we care to admit, do this on a very regular basis.
So why is it so hard to stay in the moment? Why do we struggle with being present?
I don’t have the answer, but I do think part of it lies in this wonderful thing we call social media. We’re so worried about what other people are doing or talking about right now, about how many new followers we got overnight, or if another celebrity died from a drug overdose, or if there is a new episode of NCIS on Netflix.
But none of these things are important. Of course there is a time and a place for all these things, but we drastically overspend on these things, and underspend on real life interactions and being fully present wherever we are.
Takeaway: Put down your phone, and focus on what is happening in front of you right now.
4. Live for Something Bigger than You.
We’re not on this earth just to take up space and exist. We’re made for much more than that. We're made for something bigger than just us.
We can all contribute something to the world. We can all give a little bit of ourselves and make the world a better place.
This doesn’t need to be as grandiose as “end poverty” or “save the planet.” We just need to do what we can, with what we have, right where we are. And that truly, is changing the world.
Takeaway: Look for ways to serve a greater purpose than yourself. There is always something you can do.
Time is precious. We only get 70 years on this earth, 80 or 90 if we’re lucky. Use them to sing your song as loud as you possibly can, to as many as you can reach. The world needs you.
Life is short, make it awesome.
I'll end with a quote that I think wraps up everything I've said today, and is one of my all-time favorites:
Question of the Day
What is your song, your passion? I'd love to know, and I know your fellow readers would as well. Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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