071: Stop Wasting Time & Pursue What Matters Most
One of the reasons we have a hard time achieving goals is because we waste a lot of time on things that don’t really matter.
I find it ironic that I put off recording this episode until the last minute because I was wasting time doing unimportant things. If I’m going to do what God has called me to do, which is to help women through The Planning Woman platform, I’ve got to step things up and quit wasting time.
When we stop wasting time, we open up all kinds of possibilities to do things that have a positive impact on our lives and the lives of others. We begin to live lives that make a difference instead of just spinning our wheels doing things that may be good things but are not the best. Certainly not the best things God has for us to do.
This applies to all areas of our lives. Our homes, relationships, work, and spiritual lives can all benefit from us pursuing what matters most instead of wasting time.
One reason I’m so passionate about this subject is that I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time in key areas of my life that I will never get back. That has caused a lot of regret and discouragement in my life. So I’m committed to doing better and being more intentional with how I spend my time.
Time Wasting Examples
My phone. I spend way too much time on my phone every day. It has become a habit for me to pick up my phone and to start scrolling as soon as I sit down somewhere. I would say my phone is my stress reliever in that it gives me something mindless to think about when I don’t want to think about other things going on in my life.
In reality, though, my phone is a stressor. I find myself comparing my life to those I see on social media. I get angry and upset at other people’s viewpoints that are different from mine. And I waste a ton of time that could be used for more purposeful activities.
I have learned, also, that when I’m on my phone just scrolling, I cannot have a decent conversation with someone else. Not too long ago I realized I was zoning out when my husband was trying to talk to me about his day because I was more focused on my phone. Now, I try my best to put my phone down and look at him so I can be a better listener.
When I’m waiting somewhere I try to keep my phone in my purse and use the time to take in my surroundings. Because the more I’m on my phone, the more I want to be on it, and the more likely I’ll continue to get on it instead of doing something more productive.
My relationships with my family and friends. Our family has done some great things and my kids have fond memories of growing up. We have had family dinners and great conversations around the table. And, I’ve been to just about every activity or event they’ve been involved in. So I can’t beat myself up too bad because I know I’ve done good things with them.
However, I also feel that there are many things I could have done with them but didn’t. There are so many things I wanted to do as they grew up, but because I wasted time, they didn’t get done.
I wish our family had done ministry together outside of our normal church-sponsored ministries. I wish I had trained them better to take care of their stuff so when they have their own places to live they would have been equipped to take of them. There are more traditions I wish I had established as a family.
There are many more things I wish we had done. However, I can’t go back in time and do them. But I can change how I do things presently and in the future.
If I don’t want to waste time investing in my kids, then I’ve got to be intentional about what I do with them. Even though I didn’t train them well to take care of their own home when they were younger, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to teach them things now.
It’s a matter of priorities and intention. If we want to pursue what matters most, we’ve got to be disciplined enough to figure out what matters most. Then we need to go after it.
Pursuing my dreams. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In fact, when I was a teenager, I signed up to do a correspondence course on writing children’s books.
Fast forward to the 2000s when blogging came along, and I started my first blog. Then in 2008, a national magazine asked me to write for them. I’ve always had a dream to write. And thankfully God has given me great opportunities throughout my life to do so.
However, I have not always taken full advantage of those opportunities. I have a vision board in my office I look at when I sit down at my computer to work. I have 35 pictures or word graphics that represent the goals I for my business through The Planning Woman. As of early December 2019, I have achieved 8 of those goals.
I am so proud and humbled at the same time that I’ve been able to achieve those goals. I know the remaining ones will take a ton of discipline and work if I want to achieve them. I’ve been writing for probably close to 15 years now. I really should be further along in my business with The Planning Woman.
I’ve let the fear of failure, lack of new technology skills, and lack of discipline hold me back, though. I know helping women through The Planning Woman is what matters most right after serving God and loving my family. It’s up to me to pursue it.
So how do we stop wasting time and pursue what matters most?
First, we’ve got to figure out what matters most.
Yes, we can’t pursue what matters most if we don’t know what that is. Last week I mentioned knowing your priorities for the year will help you to decide what to focus on when it comes to setting goals.
Let me just briefly recap the steps for figuring out your priorities.
- Determine your current roles and responsibilities
- Decide if your current roles and responsibilities are still relevant to your life
- Think about other areas in your life that need your attention
- Set your priorities based on your current roles and responsibilities
When we know our priorities, then we’ll know what’s most important to pursue.
But how do you actually pursue those important things?
I get it. I have read so many books and articles, listened to podcasts, and watched videos about how to achieve your goals and become more disciplined. And while there are many great ideas and methods out there, really the best way to become more disciplined is to just do it.
Now, I’m not saying we need to aim for perfection. No way! In fact, little steps add up to big results over time.
One way I’ve been able to create discipline in certain areas of my life is by using a habit tracker. I recorded an episode about creating habits that stick. Click here to get your own habit tracker.
Basically, using a habit tracker works like this. Choose a few habits you want to develop, write them down and check off each day that you do them.
Some of the habits I’ve been trying to get more disciplined about are walking a certain number of steps each day, cleaning my kitchen every night before I go to bed, and reading my Bible.
Tracking your habits can help you develop discipline over time. If you are trying to follow your dreams of starting your own business, learning a new skill or hobby, or are trying to get your health under control, then habit tracking is a great place to begin.
So I encourage you to go back to the episode where I talk about habits. Download your own habit tracker to get started.
Finally, I have to say one of the best ways to pursue what matters most is to just live each day like what you are trying to pursue has already happened. Let me explain.
So who’s with me? Are you ready to stop wasting time and pursue what matters most?