Has this ever happened to you? You start your work day (raise your hand if “starting your work day” consists of making that long commute to your home office or even the dining room table!) by opening up your email and going through your inbox. You reply to, forward, organize, and delete one email after the other. Before you know it, you’ve spent half your morning going down an email rabbit hole and you haven’t even begun to tackle your real work! Most of the emails you address don’t serve your greater goals (remember those 10 sales calls you wanted to make each day?), yet we feel obligated to reply, which ultimately distracts us from what we really need to be focused on.
The same thing can happen in our personal lives. Instead of fitting in that 30 minute of physical activity, reading that personal development book, or making progress on that home renovation project, we get sidetracked by household chores or binging season 2 of The Office for the hundredth time.
In order to meet our goals, we have to make the most important things that will move us further toward our goals be the priority of the day. We need to be intentional with where we put our focus and have a laser-like determination in working towards our overall objectives. After all, it’s only fair to acknowledge and honor that vision.
That's why there is no such thing as time management. If we manage our priorities, then our time will naturally be spent focusing on the tasks and activities that matter the most.
Here is another way to think of it. What opportunities have we missed because we hesitated? We were distracted and too busy focusing on the wrong things. We didn’t want to take on anything else so we turned down the opportunity to participate in that leadership development program at work. Or we pass on attending that creative writing seminar being hosted by our favorite author. Where would we be as a society if Thomas Edison let distractions get in the way as he was working on creating the incandescent light bulb? Or if the Wright Brothers didn’t maintain their focus as they invented the first successful airplane?
If we don’t make sure we’re being intentional about focusing on the things that will push us closer to our goals, we’re letting everything and everyone around us determine our paths. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t help and serve others or completely ignore household duties and responsibilities. We just need to be intentional about where our attention, time, and focus goes.
As I say in my keynote “It’s Game Time! Life Lessons from a Former Pro Female Football Player,” if you don’t choose your priorities, your circumstances will. If YOU don’t choose your priorities, the world will dictate what your future looks like. Don’t let the world be in control of your destiny...take action and put yourself on that path to accomplishing your dreams!
FUN FACT: With over 2,000 patents to his name, Thomas Edison is an inspiration to many. Next time you feel discouraged, remember one of his many famous quotes - “"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."