02 Sep Are You Focusing on What Really Matters?
Focus on what’s important over what feels urgent.
We desire to live based on what’s important to us, but the tugs of urgent often dictate us. Urgent things are the lists of to-do’s that sometimes take precedent over time doing what we love, keeps us healthy and ultimately matters in the end. (Essentialism, Greg McKeown)
We need to pay attention to where we might be getting off track and having life drag us around rather than creating the life we really want. This requires awareness and deliberate action.
SO often, I’ve noticed where I’m focusing on what’s urgent instead of what’s important. I see how often I’m answering a text or email (urgent) instead of concentrating on important tasks. I can be a brutal multitasker at times, and that’s not the worst of it.
I fill up my days with what feels important only to realize I have been strung along by what feels urgent. I’ve been duped because without true intention urgent tasks can feel like they’re important, when they really aren’t and they’re side tracking us from what truly matters.
This week, I’m back from a week off and the unanswered emails feel so urgent and working on this content, which is not so urgent, but it is very important to me. So I have yet to look at any email and it’s midmorning as I write this and it’s hard to set them aside.
Stephen Covey, a well-known author, suggests prioritizing with the end in mind and then plan backwards. This means plan where you want to end up and move back from that target.
I often use this strategy in my business and with clients.
If we take things a step further, it’s about where we want to be at the end of our life. Once you determine what you want to create in specific areas of your life, you plan and implement a strategy.
This hit me like a ton of bricks. Even though it’s simple, and I know it in some ways, I don’t always operate from this perspective, and I quickly get off track.
More about this on Love at Lunch
I spent a day with my first coach, who had terminal cancer several years ago.
I took her to an out of town doctor’s appointment. To get back in time for a meeting I had with a client, I would either have to rush, or be late or arrive in a panic.
This dilemma made me think of the day my mom died and I was a maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding. I went to the wedding and missed being by my mom’s side as she died. The wedding and the obligation felt so important, but in hindsight, I wish I had been with my mom and honoured what was important to me.
With that in mind, I contacted my client and asked to move our appointment to the next day, so I could savour time with my beloved coach rather than be in a rush. It was a small thing, but it brought me such deep joy to not have to be in a hurry, which would most likely be the last time I got to spend with my beloved friend.
It was an incredible honour to spend time with her. In her words, she felt like she was straddling both sides; life here and what lies beyond. That perspective had given her great clarity about what was important to her.
I wonder, if I were dying (and in truth we all are), would I be scrambling, chasing the urgent, trying to chow down on every last morsel of everything life had to offer? Or would I feel I had lived life in such a way that I had always been primarily focusing on what was truly important and that the end of life would prompt me to savour life more deeply?
My obit could read:
Mom spent time with us but texted, answered emails and cleaned while we talked (and frankly, some days it still might-I am so a work in progress)
That’s not what I want.
At the end of my life, I want to have focused on what’s ultimately important to me and design my life around that.
I’ve been auditing how I spend my time and see where I am doing what appears urgent, skipping over important things like skipping a walk or meditation and answering emails instead.
Focusing on what’s important to you takes clarity and courage, setting boundaries, asking for help, readjusting to navigate towards what matters.
Begin with the end in mind. What’s important to you?
Take some time to answer these questions.
What do you want your life to look like?
What do you want your life to be filled with?
What’s urgent that gets in the way?
Write your your eulogy or obituary. Yes, I mean it. It will change how you live when you see how you want to be remembered.
Set aside some time for those urgent things (there are ways to remove some of those “to-dos” from your list)-I can even help with all of that. Contact me. It’s part of what I do as a coach to support people and help them not to lose sight of what’s important.
Now reset your priorities and set your goals based on what’s important. Focus on what needs to happen to accomplish your primary focus.
Reread your eulogy often to set your priorities and create the life you want.
Lots of love to yo all as you carve out space for what’s important
P.S. I had someone use my book for their leadership retreat last week and was raving about the impact. If you want to order my book in bulk (5 copies or more) for a gift for your team, family, book club-reach out and I can make that happen!! www.findingyourjoyspot.com for more info.