Go get a pen and a piece of paper. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Now, in the next 30 seconds I challenge you to make a list of the four most important things in your life. If you’re like most people, your list will look something like this:
Next, tell me where you spend your time. If you’re honest, you’d probably admit that if you add up all the time you spend at church, the gym, with your friends and family it would equal less than a quarter of the total you spend at work.
You know what’s worse? Compare the amount of time you spend on what’s really important in your life to the number of hours you spend each week watching TV and updating Facebook.
How did it get this way?
I’m not a sociologist, but I’ve got a few ideas. The advancement of technology has created a society that demands to be entertained at every minute of the day. When is the last time you sat in your kitchen/living room/basement and you didn’t have the TV on or you weren’t on the Internet? If you’ve got kids, I’d be surprised if they can sit in the car for more than 30 seconds without playing a video game.
Unfortunately, rarely does this desire to be entertained correlate to what’s important in our lives.
Next, I believe that that the pace at which our lives work has made us extremely impatient. In other words, rarely do we engage in an activity that will not produce an immediate result. This is why the average American will read less than one non-fiction book per year but can easily tell you the status of all of their friends (via Facebook) or the final three contestants on “American Idol.”
It’s tough, but you can make subtle changes that will get you back to what’s really important.
First, take a minute to imagine we are at your funeral and a good friend is giving your eulogy. What do you want them to say about you as a spouse or a parent? Were you a good friend?
This exercise will help provide a little clarity to your daily life and this clarity will help tweak your behavior.
Next, take time to plan activities that refocus you on what’s really important. Write down what’s important and then plan activities that support this list. As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is execute.