Do you ever feel like there will never be enough time to do everything you want to do? Well, guess what – you’re right! We are constantly growing and expanding, which means we’re always wanting more, even if it’s more peace, serenity, time off, etc. The future is always more and we will always want it.
Brian Tracy teaches “The Law of Forced Efficiency,” which says that, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” I recently found this to be absolutely true and that’s what I want to discuss today.
Most of you are probably aware that I haven’t been posting as many articles on this site as I had been for the past two years. You’re also probably aware that my husband and I opened a new dental facility two months ago. Yes, these two facts are related.
With all of the preparation and planning that I did before the big move, there were things that happened that I just could not have anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, it was all mostly good stuff, or things that were easy enough to deal with, but everything coming in at once simply took more time than I had allowed. Combine that with my own business projects and trying to keep up with acquiring new business, and the blog writing just went on the back burner for a few weeks.
I felt guilty for a long time, but then decided that I really didn’t owe any explanation to anyone. However, at the open house for the new office, I told an avid reader that my blog writing was suffering because I’d been so busy with the details of the practice and her response was, “I could tell.” OUCH!
After reflecting on that though, I came to realize that all that simply meant was that I really put a lot of myself “out there” on this website, and that was my original intent; to blog about the trials and tribulations of my life and the lives of my clients (who always remain anonymous) in the hope that it will help others, and it does.
So what does aand time management “guru” do when a major event in her life throws her out of kilter?
Drop back and punt. Take it one step at a time. Ask, “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”
The main problem was that no matter how well I planned or how much I worked, the jobs and responsibilities just kept piling up. (I know what a lot of you are thinking right now – “Welcome to my world.” I know, I know.) Add to that the deadline of wanting everything to look perfect for the open house, and what would normally be a task that could be put off suddenly became a top priority – like cleaning all of the scuff marks off the baseboards.
The other big issue for me was that normally, even if I’ve had a busy day, I can write a really good post late at night and still meet my personal goal of 3 articles per week. While there were days when I finally sat down at 9 or 10 PM, I was so much more physically exhausted than a normal work day that I couldn’t even muster the energy to type! I spent a lot of time on the office landscaping and taking care of it even after the moving and cleaning was over, to the point that my body doesn’t feel that it has returned to “normal” yet – and it sometimes feels like it will never be normal again! But I do seem physically stronger and I’m sleeping better than ever, so the positive aspects outweigh my whining by far. But that’s another post!
The biggest lesson I learned from all of this was that I can be a highly productive person. Every hour of every day I had to stop and re-prioritize my growing list of tasks. I found myself constantly asking that question, “What is the best use of my time right now?” My time management principles were reinforced and I feel stronger mentally than ever before.
I also feel more relaxed every day, which was worth going through this experience. I had to learn to let some things go, like blog post writing, that I really wanted to do, because other things were more important. As Goethe said, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”
I tend to make things important that aren’t, which makes me rush around a lot. This project has helped me realize what is truly important to me, and that it’s okay to let things slide every once in a while. As much as I love my business and everything I do, my husband comes first. He is my top priority. Why? Because he’s a good man who works very hard and he deserves my best. I knew what I was “getting into” when I married him; I made that choice consciously, and when push comes to shove, like it did this Spring, he will always come first, by my choice.
Take a few seconds at the end of a major project or task each day and sit quietly where you cannot be disturbed. During this time, let your mind relax and just think about your work and activities. Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time, right now?”
The more you implement this process, the easier it will be for you to set clear priorities, to overcome procrastination and to get started on that one activity that represents the most valuable use of your time.
In almost every case, during this time of solitude, even if it’s just a couple of minutes, you will receive wonderful insights and ideas that will save you enormous amounts of time when you apply them back on the job. Often you will experience breakthroughs that will change the direction of your life and work. When you do, please come back here and share it with the rest of us!
Until next time,
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This post was written by Debra Moorhead, Motivation, Education, Inspiration on June 20, 2008