In today’s society we’re addicted to escapism. Like any addiction, if we don’t stop it’s going to kill us! That’s because the blistering pace of society has instilled us with the need to get away from it all. We opt for a few drinks after work, watching the game, or maybe a Netflix marathon. Regardless of the escape drug, the desire to zone out is the root cause that needs to be treated. That’s because escapism means we’re avoiding our priorities.
Living One Day at a Time
Those that know me know my schedule is non-stop from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. Each day I juggle: being a husband, a father to 5 kids, running a traditional business and a side business, my speaking and coaching responsibilities, 3-4 days a week of church related commitments, and gym time (have to stay healthy).
And I force myself do it all energetically, because everyone in my life deserves my best, not my leftovers. That being said, one of the frequent questions I’m asked is how I maintain such a demanding schedule, yet I’m almost always in a great mood.
That’s because I live my life one day a time, literally! If a task can’t be fixed, changed, or improved upon within the next 24 hours, I don’t even acknowledge it exists. When something is asked of me, I always ask for a deadline. If there’s no deadline, I won’t even spend time on it until one is given. Period!
As a case in point, I’m writing this the night before I promised the editor it would be done, even though I had almost three weeks to write it. I knew what I wanted to say, and scheduled a specific time that wouldn’t interfere with other priorities to put my thoughts into written form.
I developed this mentality at a time when my outlook on life was grim. We were living day to day just to put food on the table; my marriage was falling apart; and the only way to avoid hopelessness was to completely block out anything that couldn’t be solved immediately. If in the midst of my worst, I could find a small victory, there was hope. As life progressed from survival mode to abundance, I realized this “coping mechanism” was actually an invaluable tool.
Three Ways to Focus on Priorities
Implementing this strategy is simple. Prioritize every task, meeting or commitment in your life. If it cannot be fixed, changed, or improved within the next 24 hours, you have 3 choices: Punt, Pass, or Kick.
By punt, I mean clear your mind of things that aren’t immediate. Bills due next week? Deal with it next week. Be “present” for those in your presence. Refuse to be checked out and clogging your mind with irrelevant worry.
That’s because worry diminishes the quality of time you’re spending with everyone in your life. When you prioritize your day and stay focused and committed to each interaction, not only will the people you’re interacting with feel important, you’ll get more done!
Also, you should be willing to ask for help! The weight of the world doesn’t have to rest on your shoulders. There is always someone in your life willing to help if you are willing to be humble enough to admit you can’t do it alone. So pass the task, let them help you, and enjoy the success together.
Finally, by kick, I mean you need to know when to say “NO”. Effective leaders say no to far more than they say yes to. Be selective in the things you decide to take on. Is it productive? Or does it play towards your goals? Is it a feasible commitment or are you afraid to let someone down? Stay focused on your priorities and kick the distractions.
Ultimately, it boils down to priorities. We all have them, but amazingly, we seldom schedule time to do the things we claim are important to us. Maybe it’s time to slow down, take another look at where you’re spending your time, and decide what things need to be punted, passed, and kicked. Your priorities will ultimately determine your legacy, which I talk about here.
Take a moment today to do some self-reflection, and decide what’s a priority, and what needs to get weeded out. Are you throwing away your legacy in exchange for a quick escape? If so, opt to kick the stress, and opt in on the opportunity to embrace the joy your life is intended to be filled with.
What activities are you doing that shouldn’t be priorities for you?