Does this describe you? You’re extremely busy. You rush from one errand to another. You dash through the grocery store, pick up your dry cleaning, and pay a few bills. Maybe you check your email or look for new recipes on the Internet.
After rushing around all day, maybe you crash in front of the TV at night. There might be other things you could do, but you just can’t face them right now.
So, at the end of the day, you realize that you have been very busy, but you don’t feel that you have been very productive.
You didn’t exercise. You didn’t work on the long-delayed repair project. You didn’t read anything that made you smarter. And, you didn’t have quality time with people you care about.
In other words, you did a lot of things, but you didn’t do any of the things that really matter to you. As Steven Covey would say, you were “stuck in the thick of thin things.”
The solution lies in proactive planning. Make a list of activities that are important to you, but which tend to get neglected. This might include exercise, writing, reading, time with loved-ones, community involvement, home-improvement projects, or any activities that add value to your life.
Then make a commitment to add just one or two of these activities to your schedule for next week. ‘Nail’ these activities into your schedule. See them as “appointments” that you have a responsibility to make. Start small.
If you regularly keep your appointments, you will find that the other stuff (e.g. groceries, dry cleaning, etc.) will still get done. They will neatly fill the spaces around your really “important” activities.
If you aren’t in the habit of weekly planning, I urge you to start doing so now. Every Sunday night, I look over my calendar and decide on what ‘important’ things I plan to do in the week ahead. It’s a little investment of time that reaps enormous benefits.