I make a to-do list almost everyday. Around 98% of the stuff on the list fits in with my major life priorities. The rogue 2% gets there either out of subtle rebellion or lost focus on said priorities. If I did the list, I’d be doing well. Often I don’t do well on checking off the tasks. It’s usually because I rebel against the list as a whole and do good things instead of better ones.
There are so many good things to do in life. There are thousands upon thousands of volunteer opportunities. Countless people to get to know. Seemingly endless coffee shops to try. Why aren’t you doing all of them? It’s simple - because we can only do a few things well. The key to a fruitful life isn’t doing everything, isn’t experiencing everything, isn’t spreading yourself paper thin - it is doing a few things really well. But you already know this. You have a business.
I forget this sometimes. I foolishly choose good activities instead of better ones. Time is our most precious resource and instead of investing it in major life priorities, I make it rain everywhere. Instead of planning a date with my husband, I watch YouTube videos. Instead of cooking dinner, I read escape-from-reality blog posts. Instead of getting to know my neighbor, I clean my house. Instead of walking Macie, I peruse Pinterest.
I fail to do a few things really well most days. Do you ever struggle with this? I wish it was easy for me to focus on my major life priorities and stay on track. Though it’s not easy, there are a few things that have helped motivate me to forgo the good things (and not-so good things) for even better things:
Remember your big-picture priorities and ask yourself how this fits in.
Like Crystal Paine said in How to Make the Most out of Your 24-Hour Day - when you say “yes” to something, it is essentially a “no” to something else. When I remember my big-picture priorities, I’m then forced to ask myself if the activity I’m choosing fits in with those. If it doesn’t, I should walk away from it.
Bite your lip and do the better thing you don’t want to do and you’ll likely gain momentum towards better things.
When Mike and I walk Macie instead of mindlessly scrolling through feeds on our phones, we gain momentum toward doing better things, instead of lesser-so things. It's like swallowing the frog.
Remember there is more at stake than just your time.
I foolishly buy into the lie that I’m only wasting my time, not hurting anyone else. But it does hurt others, because I didn’t use that time to pour into relationships, into creating value or into quality rest. (You know how you rest matters, right? My friend Courtney recently wrote on this here.)
The way I use my time directly correlates with my all-around health. The healthier I am, the better I can serve those around me. The healthier I am, the more momentum and creativity I have. This is true for you too. We have to sacrifice good things for better ones. So that we can sacrifice good lives and businesses for great ones.
On Making Yourself Better by Allison Lehman - I’m a new fan of Allison and I love how she bashes the glorification of busy-ness in this post.
Focusing on doing one thing well in your business is key. Here are two quality reads on it:
Do One Thing, Do It Well and It Will Make You Money by Liza Deyrmenjian (Forbes)
Successful Entrepreneurs Do One Thing Really Well by Alison Griswold (Business Insider)