by Michael Holland
In our fast-track worlds, we all develop a priority system that helps us to make sure we are accomplishing as much as humanly possible. The reality is that we’re actually over-committed most of the time, which results in us stealing a bit of time from here and a bit of time from there to be able to squeeze in yet another commitment.
I recently met with a man who’s fully over-committed. He’s very busy running his business, sits on several boards, and has public commitments as well. During our discussion, we talked about his family engagement, relationships, and connectedness, and as it turns out, those areas of his life aren’t going as well as they could be on multiple levels.
And truth be told, he is not alone. I meet and talk with a lot of men and the trend line is often quite similar. When asked about priorities in life, family is always in the top three- usually #1. What he (or rather, we) have forgotten or rationalized away is that we also are committed to our wives and families. Yet these seem to be the ones from whom we steal time. Why is it so easy -in the short term- to steal time away from those people who mean the most to us, and who we will miss the most when they decide it’s time to stop waiting around for us?
Follow these 4 steps to create a balance sheet for your committed life.
- The List – Make a list of your commitments: those things, people, and groups to which you want to be devoted. Force rank the list with 1 reflecting the most important area.
- Commitment Goal – All things being equal, how much of your available time in a month or week or year would you want to commit to items on that list?
- View from the Other Side – Now, list the time those things, people, and groups believe you should be investing in them.
- Reality – Where are you actually spending your time (by percentage of total time)? Make this a rough estimate looking back over the last 6 months.
The facts are the facts and the truth can be your friend. And only you can decide how you will align your life with your commitments.
Need some motivation to correct your alignment? Check out the movie Courageous.
- How might your wife and kids react to your list and forced rankings?
- What’s your next step? What one action will you take based on your analysis?