Decision making in life is critical. It can help lead to tremendous success or epic failure in your job, career, family, friendships, etc.. There are several important topics for every generation; however, a focus on priorities, decision making and time management seem to become more and more crucial every decade. Today, in the age of the smartphone and social media, even technology has joined the fight for our most precious commodity: TIME!
A few years ago I came up with three critical questions on priorities that I still seek to adhere to today. They still serve me well, and I hope they’re valuable to you. Before any decision on where to invest my time, this is what I ask myself:
What is REQUIRED of me? Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what you must do. For you to be a good spouse or parent, what is required of you? To satisfy your employer, what must you do? If you lead others, then what must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else? In life, something is required of us daily. Figure out what that Looks like for you.
What gives me the greatest RETURN? As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others. After determining the requirements, focus on choices with a high return on investment (ROI). Choices = Lifestyle. What you put in is what you will get out.
What gives me the greatest REWARD? If you do only what you must, along with what is effective, then you will probably be highly productive. But you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction. As long as that personal satisfaction does not violate your character, integrity and conduct. Acquiring great rewards is tremendous – as long as it’s gained in the right way, with the right heart.
These questions are meant to be asked IN ORDER. Many of us would love to skip down to #3 and focus on the most rewarding/fun/exciting activities. But no one can be successful who doesn’t possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third. If you can’t answer these three in order, it’s ok to say NO to whatever you are considering to take on.
The time that you and I have on this earth is precious – every minute of it. I read a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said “Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”
I challenge and encourage you to let your life be a bright gem in a useful life.
Have a great week, and manage your time and your life well based around these three priorities.