It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about? ~ Henry David Thoreau
Keeping Your Actions Aligned with Your Priorities
A busy life is a modern reality. We rush from activity to activity, chore to chore. But at the end of the day, did all of our hustle and bustle actually align with our core values and life goals?
For many of us, the answer is often, “no”. I propose, if our days are to be packed from dawn until dusk, we owe it to ourselves to make sure our activities are serving us.
It all starts with identifying your real goals. For me, my real goals are scratched out on a post-it note that hangs on my bedroom mirror. They are the connection with my family, maintaining my health and making time for my writing. Once you know what’s really important to you, you’re ready to use the five strategies below to make sure your daily actions align with your priorities.
When you wake up, roll over and jot down two or three simple things you can do today that will serve your higher purpose. This is especially important if you’re working a job that doesn’t particularly match your life goals but is necessary to get your bills paid right now.
2. Read something relevant to your goal every day
During your morning train ride or time spent waiting in line for coffee, read something to either inspire you or help you gain knowledge to get you closer to your goals. Subscribing to blogs in your areas of interest is an easy way to keep relevant reading material close at hand.
3. Listen to something relevant to your goal while doing banal tasks
The dishes still need to be done and the towels still need to be folded, make use of busy work by listening to an audio book or podcast that is meaningful for you.
4. Schedule activities that don’t align with your goals, don’t default to them
It’s just too easy to turn on the television and waste a few hours. If there are activities you enjoy, but get in the way of acting in line with your priorities, schedule them infrequently rather than making them a default whenever you don’t know what else to do. For example, save watching the latest episode of Mad Men for every Friday night.
5. Journal your progress at the end of the day
Before you go to sleep, do a quick recap of your day and identify which of your activities was in line with your goals and what you spent time on that wasn’t. This will keep your choices front and center and hold you accountable for acting in ways that align with your priorities.
Follow these five tips for the next thirty days and you’ll be amazed at how keeping your actions in line with your priorities becomes second nature. Your busy life will begin to feel less frantic and more intentional.
What’s one thing that keeps your life busy? Share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below