Stephen Covey gives us the perfect visual.
The world is full of super achievers. You go, go, go all day. Your long-running to-do list gets filled with check marks. Laundry fluffed and folded-check. Volunteering every week at the animal shelter-check. Making fancy decorated cupcakes for the school bake sale-check. Extra time at the office to finish a special project—check. Happy hour after work--check. “Liking” baby pics, cute posts, and vacation photos on Facebook-check. Reading the latest novel to keep up with friends-check. Making dinner from scratch-check. Washing and vacuuming the car weekly-check. Planning the next vacation because you really need to get away and rest-CHECK!
Wow, look at you go! Doing so many things right! You’re definitely setting yourself up for success.
Or are you?
What this list should be telling you is that just because you’re doing so many things right, doesn’t mean these are the right things to do.
Yes, you all have “stuff” to do. And there is nothing inherently wrong with the “to-do” list. It’s when putting things on our list is more reactive than proactive that our life gets out of control. Yes, you will always need clean clothes and of course you need to eat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take shortcuts or ask for help. And it absolutely doesn’t mean that you can’t just say no to things that don’t fit your long-term goals,
Now, just for fun, stop moving. Stop thinking about your list. Instead, take some deep breaths, clear your mind and envision what you WANT your life to look like. Think about your long-term goals. Then decide how many things on your never-ending to-do list will actually help you get there.
Everything you do in life either gets us closer to, or takes us further away from what you really want.
If carefree family time is one of your goals then forgo the made from scratch dinner for something quicker and easier to prepare. I promise, your family is not impressed with your culinary skills. They only care about having something edible and on the table when they’re hungry. Free up the time you took to shop and chop and go for an after dinner walk or take a trip to the library.
If having your own business or moving up at work is your goal, then rethink how you spend your time. Would washing and cleaning your car twice month instead of weekly and skipping happy hour free up some time for you to spend putting together a business plan, strengthening your professional skills, or taking a class?
If getting healthier is your goal would it make sense to limit Facebook and other social media to once or twice a week and get that novel as an audiobook so you can schedule workout time?
It often seems that our life controls us instead of the other way around.
Truth is, you live what you create based on your choices. Intentional choices lead to intentional results. Try it for a week or two and let me know how it’s working.