Here’s How To Get Important Things Done!

Last week I was listening to a leadership podcast & the guy who produces this particular podcast began to share how he had become stuck. He talked about his difficulty producing the podcast because of both personal & professional challenges, as well as other difficulties that had arisen and were stealing his attention. I went back to check and this man had only produced two podcasts the entire summer. He really was struggling.

Clock image

I can relate to his issues. There are many things out there that will steal our time, energy and even our enthusiasm. If we let them, they can distract us from giving our attention and energy to the things that are the most important to us. If not dealt with, they could lead to a life where we can never seem to get traction.  We get derailed by things that don’t really matter and fail to accomplish things that do.  Goals that we hold dear are left undone.

I have noticed that, at least for me, it has been challenging in two main areas. Time & motivation.

When it comes to time, we all have the same amount. I heard Rev. Keith Moore say in a recent message that the Lord had been dealing with him to do a certain thing, and he was resisting. He felt that he didn’t have enough time. The Lord showed him that if he didn’t have enough time to do God’s will for his life, he was wasting time. The Lord knows how much time we have and would not ask us to do something that we simply could not do. If God has the plan, He also has the schedule. We just simply need to be led.

For me it seemed for quite a while that I didn’t have time for the things that were important to me because I was too busy doing all of the regular maintenance things. Things like mowing the grass or changing the oil.  I believe this blog is one of the most important things that I do, but it has been hard to keep up with because of all of the “urgent” demands on my time. I want to stay in shape and it seemed like the optimum time for me to work out was right after work. The gym that I go to is right off of a highway that I am already driving so it is easy to get to. The problem was that commitments, errands & the mundane every day stuff kept demanding my time right after work and it became difficult to be consistent with my workouts.  It also became difficult finding the time to be consistent creating good content for the blog.

Consider this. One of the most important assets you have is your time. It’s what your employer is paying you money for. Why is he or she paying you for your time? Because they have too much to do and don’t have enough time of their own, so they buy yours. It’s interesting to me that even though our time is so precious, we often treat it like it’s trivial and meaningless. Have you ever heard the expression Just wasting time or Killing time? If we would only realized how valuable and limited our time is, I think we would be “like a man on fire” trying to spend it in meaningful ways, and strive not be wasteful of even one precious moment.

We all have the same amount of time. We all have 168 hours per week to work with. So how do we make these hours work for us? What can we do different that would make the difference?

I just finished reading a book called Born To Win by Zig Ziglar & his son Tom Ziglar. This was the last book Zig wrote before he went to Heaven in 2012. Zig related a story about his mentor P.C. Merrill who told the young Zig Ziglar that while he thought Zig had great potential, he was currently a waste. He then said that if Zig would just believe in himself and have what he (Merrill) called an organized work schedule, he could go straight to the top. Zig believed him and this turned out to be a defining moment in Zig’s life. If you have followed or read after Zig Ziglar even a little bit, what becomes apparent was his passion for helping people and that he talked a lot about goals & getting things done. Without doubt we can see what he accomplished in his life and I believe it came from seeing himself as God sees him – a success, and learning the secret of setting goals & working to a schedule.

I have heard it said that if you don’t have a plan for your time, someone else will, and their plan will not be to your benefit. We need to take some time and observe where our time is leaking away and fix the leaks. This may involve saying no to people. For me this required making some decisions. First, I didn’t know that much about time management but I found help. Michael Hyatt offers a free e-book when you subscribe to his email list to receive his blog posts. The book is called “Shave 10 Hours Off Your Workweek”. You can find more about it at michaelhyatt.com. Also, I had to make some decisions about how I spent my time. I needed to cut back on television. The New York Times reported that the average American watches about 5 hours of TV a day. Wow! I made some solid decisions concerning TV. I no longer have any shows that I HAVE TO watch. I also try to schedule my TV time so that I can spend it with my family. I have also realized that the hour or two right after work need to be “wild card” hours. There are too many variables that can change my schedule in that time. I also started getting up at 4:30 AM to spend quality time with God and to work out. No one else wants my 4:30 AM so it’s all mine. I spend the first 3-1/2 hours each day with prayer, Bible reading, working out & reading. I don’t stay up as late these days but I’ve discovered that staying up late doesn’t translate into hours of productivity. It usually translated into hours wasted on Netflix. For me the hours in the morning are far more productive.

If you don’t have a plan for your time, someone else will, and their plan will not be to your benefit.

Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the book Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People had an illustration that spoke volumes about time management. He told the story of a Business School instructor who presented to his class a one gallon mason jar and three bowls. The first bowl was filled with sand. The second bowl was filled with what looked gravel. The third bowl was filled with seven large rocks. He would have a student fill the container from the three bowls assuring them that all of the contents would fit. The student started by pouring in the sand, followed by the gravel and then finally the 7 large rocks. They quickly discovered that most of the big rocks would not fit. He then demonstrated that by putting in the 7 big rocks first, then pouring in the gravel around them and then the sand which filled up ever available space, the container held everything.

The secret to this illustration was simple. Put in the big rocks first. There are an unending supply of trivial, meaningless details in our lives that steal our time and rob us of our goals. If we allow them, they keep us from doing the things we truly care about. We need to schedule our priorities to do the important things first. You define what the big rocks mean. Do you want to help others? Do you want more time with your kids? Focus more on your faith? It’s important to keep in mind that we need to do the important things first or we will never get them done at all.

What tips do you use to keep yourself on track & moving forward? I would love to hear from you. Please join the conversation by leaving a comment.

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *