Are you committed to long-term health? Are you committed to leading a life that can serve as an example to your children? Commitment, as defined by dictionary.com, means ‘A pledge or undertaking’ and ‘An engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action’. A commitment is not always convenient or enjoyable; it can, oftentimes, be an inconvenience.
No one’s circumstance is special. We all lead fast-paced, busy lives. It is up to us to decide where we will invest our time. A simple example is deciding between going to the movies or going to the gym. We get to experience the immediate, short-term joy of seeing a movie, whereas going to the gym will only appear in the long-term.
Time Management: Urgent v. Important
Being ‘busy’ should not hold you back from investing time in the important aspects of your life. Important things require more initiative; they have a greater long-term impact. Things like relationship building, proper exercise and nutrition, and continuing education are examples of important subjects. Addressing them immediately is not required, but if they are neglected long enough the consequences can be severe.
Delineate important from urgent. An urgent action is something that must be done now such as answering a phone call or completing a deadline-driven project. Urgent issues are things we react to. If you are constantly putting out fires and resolving crises you are probably focusing on urgent, not important, issues.
Initially, it can be daunting to break routine and make short-term sacrifices. It is easier to just focus on solving problems that are right in front of you, but taking a step back will allow the rest of your life to be sustainable. You will not burnout physically and emotionally and, when you do face problems, you will be see them coming and be prepared to address them. As stated by Stephen Covey in his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, “Your effectiveness would increase dramatically. Your crises and problems would shrink to manageable proportions because you would be thinking ahead, working on the roots, doing the preventative things that keep situations from developing into crises in the first place.”
Exercise: Write down everything you did today. What category would most actions fall under? Are these things that must be done immediately but are not important? If so, what can you remove from you schedule to all time to invest into more important activities?
“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do… They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.” – E.M. Gray