I’m a big fan of working from priorities rather than a calendar. Yes, we all need calendars, but only for one reason: Our lives intersect with other peoples’ lives.
It takes a lot of effort to learn to work from priorities instead of a calendar. The good side is that you get a lot more done – and you know you’re always working on what’s important. The bad side is that most people don’t do this, and they can get upset with you for not adding their low-priority stuff to your calendar.
One of the huge benefits you get when you work on highest priorities first is that you take time to improve yourself and your life. Here’s what I mean:
All too often, we “know” we should do something, but there’s never time. I know I should study for an exam. I know I should upgrade my certification. I know I should read a book in my field. I know all that – but these things don’t make their way onto my calendar.
Everyday, we look at the high priority things and don’t do them because they take time. And since we’re focused on the calendar and the clock, time is so precious that we don’t make time to do what’s important!
For example: Let’s say you’ve been told – and you believe – that reading a specific book will dramatically improve your life (or sales process, stress level, relationships, etc.). You “know” that this book will change your life for the better.
But it’s been sitting on your shelf for a year. Why? Because reading feels like you’re not doing something. And, as a result, reading that amazing book never makes its way onto your calendar.
There’s a certain irony here, especially if you are struggling with something and you “know” this book will help. You don’t have time to take time to do something that will make all your future time more effective and positive.
I love the old saying, “She’s too busy mopping the floor to fix the roof.” It’s very true for very many of us.
Some people find it hard to believe that I read, write, and meditate every day. The most common thing I hear is, “Where do you find the time?” The answer is, I don’t find the time. I find the priority.
I know absolutely and definitively that reading and writing every day will improve my future life significantly – both personally and professionally. So I set aside time to sit in a chair, get comfortable, and read.
You can do this. You don’t have to write every day. Or read every day. But whatever thing you know you need to do, just set aside an hour to do it.
And relax about it. It’s okay to block off an hour in your calendar for self improvement. Remember the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey? #7 is Sharpen the Saw. In other words, work on YOU.
Once you accept that something will improve your life, you have do it, right? That hour will pay you back with many better hours in the future.