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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.

13 replies on “Wasting Time”

Such a great anecdote of spontaneous fellowship with people! It’s those intentional choices to focus on relationships that make life sweet. Bless you, John for sharing your wisdom and insights with us!

I’m reminded of the line from the Thomas Rhett song :”you make a plan and then you hear God laughing”. Some of us take a lot of comfort in all those lists and have to work hard to find JOY in making the most out of the curveballs that life throws at us. #alwayslearning

I just do not even relate to people who plan out each and everyday (and stick to that plan).
I love the way your day turned out John. Nothing better than spending those unexpected precious days with people we love the most. I bet your mom and dad had the best time!!! Love it!!

Love this John! If we complete all of our tasks in our lives and miss the precious times with the people who are most important – and people who are placed in our paths to touch in some way, is that success? Not for me. Thanks again for this encouragement!!

Love this John! If we complete all of our tasks in our lives and miss the precious times with the people who are most important – and people who are placed in our paths to touch in some way, is that success? Not for me. Thanks again for this enecouragement!

The timing of this message is uncanny – the right message the right time. Thank you for sharing. My day has taken a turn toward the present moment and positivity.

Great words John in reminding us that we can have daily goals to work toward and then there are special times that appear when we have to take a TIME OUT to enjoy ourselves with the people that matter most to us. Then we can go back to our “Do Today list”.

I was sure I was not going to like this week’s story. Plan and track every minute. ugh. But then I kept reading. And as usual, John hit the nail on the head!

Amazing reminder and words as I sit in my prayer chair preparing for what is to be particularly packed and likely stressful week. Thank you – your timing and your words are indeed inspired!

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