Approximately 20 years ago, I was told a story. This particular story was a true one. It was about a man who was otherwise rather unremarkable except for one little matter. At the outset of his life, he had set down on a list all the things he wanted to do during his lifetime. At the time of the story telling, he was in his 70’s; he had managed to cross out all but a few remaining items – and he was eagerly anticipating accomplishing the ones that remained on his list.
How many of us can look back and say that we have used our time accomplishing those goals that matter most to us? How many of us have even taken the time to identify these personally important goals? John Lennon wrote: “Life is just what happens to you, while your busy making other plans” (Beautiful Boy lyrics). How do you set priorities, cull the wheat from the chaff, and set your own journey to reclaim your life?
There are many books that will help with sorting out your life’s priorities and still others that will help with managing your time. We believe that the two are inseparable – trying to manage your tasks without taking the time to decide what is important (or unimportant) in your life is simply increasing the tempo of your life without taking any steps towards any meaning in your life; similarly deciding what is important in your life without addressing how to structure your time and your priorities to take you towards your goals simply leads to frustration as you see your life drifting away.
Accordingly we believe that to truly give direction to your life as well as make the most of your time, you must address both of these two components: namely how to sort out the truly important goals for your life and then how to find the time to pursue them. Only in this way do we believe you can find both satisfaction and meaning in your life.
Take a moment – a long weekend is a perfect opportunity – and write down the goals of your life (your ‘bucket list’ if you may). Learn to play the guitar. Write a book. Go skydiving. Learn how to sail or ski. Sort them into columns…”Must do”, “Would like to do” etc. Now look at your life ahead of you…can you plan them into your calendar?
By focusing on the big things in your life, hopefully we can emulate the fellow at the start of this post and find ourselves having accomplished all or most of them by the time we reach our golden years…by taking a moment at the present time.