Americans are guilty of either two extremes. One, they either fall into the despairing traps of laziness. Or, two, they become sucked into the wearisome rat-race of busyness! Both are guilty of failing to schedule their lives around what is truly important, or the "big rocks" of their lives.
Habit #3 of our study of the Covey's Habits of Highly Successful People is putting first things first. This basic idea is scheduling, planning and setting goals to accomplish what is truly most important to us. In addition, it's scheduling these "big rocks" first! I've always argued that we make time for what is truly important to us. Or, we don't forget about the things that are important to us. Also, another way to put it, "where you spend your time is clearly where your heart is" or what is really important to you.
Before you start planning your week around the "big rocks" of what is important, we must investigate what our current "rocks" are and what they should be. For the first investigation, ask yourself these questions:
- How do I spend my mornings?
- How do I handle daily responsibilities?
- How do I spend my free time?
- What is my attitude on homework?
- When do I do chores and home responsibilities?
- As I look at my week, where is the majority of my time spent?
An honest answer to these questions will help indicate what we are making time for. Second, answer the following questions to help establish what is truly important in life:
- What activities have long-term value?
- What would I want to be remembered for?
- Rank the five most important ways you could spend your time.
- What relationships are most important in life? Reasons?
- What do you hope to leave for the next generation?
Answers to this last set of questions helps us identify where and how we should be spending our time. Identify your changes for this week and start scheduling your week around what is important and avoid falling prey to trying to keep up with what is urgent in our lives that suck our energy!