Picture this: The dying tycoon is lying on his bed. He has become very wealthy. He is surrounded by his wife and children. They gaze lovingly into his eyes and he in theirs. His voice is weak and his family bends close to hear his final words. He weakly gasps, “If only, if only, if only I had spent more time …. at the office.”
What’s wrong with this picture?
If you look at the way many people live, you’d think they had the topsy-turvy values described in my silly story.
How about you? Are your actions aligned with your true values? Do you sometimes become so immersed in your work and getting ahead that you neglect the truly important things in life? Do you neglect attending to your loved ones, taking care of your health and getting the exercise you need?
To get clarity, focus and motivate yourself to do the truly important things in life, put it in writing. Write down what’s really important to you. These include bonding with your loved ones, family, and friends. Also include taking care of yourself, your health and well-being — exercising regularly, eating properly, medical examinations, and rest and recreation. Include in this list preparation and planning– like you’re doing right now. As you can see, these are the things having to do with quality of life and personal effectiveness and leadership.
You’ll notice that most of these crucial items do not demand your attention. You can do them when you get around to it. It is easy to postpone them and attend to things that are urgent and demanding your attention. This is my whole point. You need a method for bringing the really important things to your attention or you will neglect the most important things in your life.
You will be distracted by activities demanding your attention; doing your daily job, crisis, medical emergencies, pressing problems, deadline-driven projects, last-minute preparations for scheduled activities. These are important, but not as important as the other issues we’ve been talking about. Because they demand our attention we will attend to them.
Other things that distract you from the truly important items are interruptions, some calls, certain mail and reports, idle chitchat, some meetings and demands on your time for someone else’s benefit. Either life will control you or you will control life. Be sure that you give top priority to the things that are most important to you. Write it down and look at it every day. Attend to these items every day.
Follow this system and you’ll improve the quality of your life immensely. When you reach the end of your road of life — whether it comes suddenly or you have time to linger and talk to your family — you will not be regretting that you did not do the really important things.
Wishing you a prosperous and balanced life