The Big rocks.  The main priorities of your life.  How do you make sure the “big rocks” are being taken care of? Often decisions can cross over different arenas in your life. Is it more important to call your mother back or to finish that spreadsheet for your boss? Is it more important to go to your friend’s art show opening or go home for the weekend and see your niece’s recital?

How will you make these decisions? You must prioritize. You must decide what’s important to you and make sure your best time goes there. That’s why your calendar is your best friend. You can look out for an entire year (or at least a semester) and decide what is most important to you. Family? Write in some family visit time. Block out a couple weekends. Friends? Significant other? Travel? If you don’t schedule your time, someone else will.

You’re in control of your time. Don’t let other people prioritize it for you. Just remember that every yes is a no to something else.

8 ways to do more of the right stuff:

  1. Have a regular set planning time for your week. Maybe Sunday night. Maybe Monday morning before you go in to work or your first class. Also plan out each day in the morning. Ten minutes of planning saves an hour of time. It gives purpose and direction for your day.
  2. Be early, everywhere! This will show your coworkers and classmates that you take yourself seriously and you take their time seriously. And I mean even in the morning. If you get in the habit of getting up early, then you are able to discern what is important.
  3. Always have a book/Kindle/iPad, etc. with you everywhere you go to be able to get some reading in. Just last week I arrived ve minutes early to a lunch meeting. As I sat down, I got a text that my friend would be about twenty minutes late. That’s almost a half hour of unplanned time. So seize the time. Make it your own.
  4. If something takes less than 3 minutes, do it immediately. I like to build momentum with a couple small wins in the morning. Then tackle the most important thing of the day.
  5. Delegate when appropriate. If someone can do a job or task 80% as well as you, have them do it.
  6. Find out the “Minimum effective dose” that it takes to get something done. Don’t sacrifice on excellence, but making something 10 percent better usually requires 100 percent more effort. Make sure it’ll be worth it if you’re going to expend this extra effort.
  7. Have chunks of the day when you put your phone on airplane mode (of course, check with your boss and make sure this is okay). I promise these will be the most productive hours of your day. You need uninterrupted time every day.
  8. Put everything into your schedule. Are you a spiritual person? Put time in for prayer/meditation. Are you exercising? Put it in your schedule. What matters to you? Put the “big rocks” in first and guard them with your life. First things first. Then when someone asks you to do something, you can reply honestly “I’m sorry, but I already have a commitment.” The more organized you are, the more spontaneous you can be.

One last thought:

Entrepreneur Derek Sivers has a litmus test for when he’s presented with options or a request to speak or be involved in a new venture. If it’s not an emphatic, exciting “Hell yes!” then it’s a no. Now not all of us are at the stage of our career or life when we can make those types of decisions. Many of us are still in the “I’ll do anything I get asked to for the experience and the exposure” stage.  And that’s okay. But this can be an indicator if it falls within our priorities and passion.  Best wishes on finishing all you want to in 2018!

Pete Hardesty

Author Pete Hardesty

Pete Hardesty grew up in Baltimore, MD and graduated from the University of Virginia. Pete then joined the staff of Young Life in 1997 till present. He lives outside of Washington D.C. where he leads the college division of Young Life for the eastern part of the U.S. He loves college students, beach volleyball, and his 2 nieces very much. Likes: His nieces, Ravens football, college people (even though they make him feel old), movies, cigars, Thai food, the Middle East. Dislikes: Country music, tomatoes, shrimp, rice crispy treats, and wet socks. Pete believes because we only get one shot at this life we need to figure out what matters and give ourselves to it. Let’s make it count. If you have a problem with this, he challenges you to meet him behind the dumpster after school to fight.

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