Rob Bell says it best, “Do you often find yourself saying, “I’m so busy” or “I just have so much to do”? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with appointments, gatherings, to-‐do lists. But what are we really doing with our Time? Many of us are running from place to place and it seems like life is just passing us by. We’re doing so many things, a little bit of everything, and yet it doesn’t feel like much of a life. But most of us find it hard to say no. We feel obligated. There are so many good things to do. So many good causes to join. But while we’re busy doing all these good things, are we missing out on something great? Maybe saying no would be easier if we knew what it meant to say yes.”
For some of us we have a clear picture of the future and a plan to get there. For others it’s not so clear but there is still hope. If we strip away what is not working it will leave us with what is. Michelangelo said when asked about his vision of the David, “David was always there in the marble. I just took away everything that was not David.”
For those of us who don’t have a clear vision of the future follow these simple “Stop Doing List” steps and create your own David:
1. For 6 weeks keep track in 15 to 30 minute intervals where you spend your time. You will probably have about 8 primary buckets or categories. A primary category might be “meeting” and secondary category “with who and the purpose of the meeting”.
2. After 6 weeks consolidate your results and identify in what quadrant of Stephen Covey’s Matrix these events fall into:
- Important/Not Urgent – This quadrant is a result of knowing yourself and good planning.
- Important/Urgent – This quadrant is where “life happens”. Some things just need immediate attention.
- Not Important/Urgent – This is the quadrant of distraction. Don’t bring me a problem unless you have a solution.
- Not Important/Not Urgent – This is the quadrant of Time wasters.
3. It will become obvious of how you can free up some time by consolidating events, delegating, stop doing, or just changing the conversation around what is important to you. If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist. I’ve taught, and used this technique, for many years. The results are always the same, freeing up about 1 day/per week for refocusing. I always encourage people to invest that new found day in Family, Friends, Community, and Experiences. By nurturing the good, the good will appreciate!