Slow down to focus on what truly matters most.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” -Steve Jobs
Recently at a leadership conference, the speaker before me taught us how to make sure we maximized our time each day. It was a great session and a few of the take-aways included:
- Plan your day out – and don’t lose your focus.
- Track your minutes – and don’t waste your seconds.
- Say yes to advancing your objectives – and say no to people who steal your time.
While it’s certainly sage advice for anyone striving to achieve desired goals, sometimes we need to slow down long enough to be reminded why we strive in the first place to plan our days, track our minutes, and advance our objectives. Last Wednesday served as such a reminder for me.
Ash Wednesday kicks off the beginning of Lent. During the morning service, our pastor pressed his thumb into a bowl of ashes, then imprinted them in the shape of a cross on our foreheads, while proclaiming to each person: “Remember man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Regardless of our individual faith backgrounds, these powerful words remind us that life is fleeting, our time is precious, and we must remain vigilant in focusing our lives on what matters most. As we race through our days and our lives, it’s easy to lose that perspective.
So with his proclamation challenging me to make sure I don’t miss out on some of the people who matter most, I called my parents to see if I could bring them lunch later. Learning that they’d not be home because they were going to a noon church service by our office, I invited them to just come over afterwards.
Mom, Dad and I spent the first 30 minutes just catching up. It was special time with two of my favorite people.
My wife, Beth, wrapped up at the school where she works as an OT early, came by the office and joined us in the board room. Then the team that books all our speaking events, Heather and Sandy, followed the laugher and joined the growing party. Our podcast producer Aimee, followed by our lead coach Matt, and even a dear friend who shares office space with us, Doug, joined the celebration.
The productivity expert would have been furious with this impromptu party. Not only had this pizza party interfered with my day, it was now officially disrupting our entire team’s afternoons, too!
We lost our focus.
We wasted lots of seconds.
We said yes to people who wanted to steal our time.
And, as the smiles on all our faces attest and the empty pizza boxes on the tables indicate, we invested the day doing the far more important work of laughing and connecting and savoring the gift of life.
My friends, productivity and focus have an important place in all our lives.
But this week, and during this season of reflecting, slow down long enough to take inventory on what actually matters the most. And then be audacious enough to take the time to do exactly that.
Because your time is limited, don’t waste it. Just make sure you’re busy living a life that truly matters.
Today is your day. Live Inspired.