In life, there are many times when the right choices are clear.
- Don’t steal.
- Say no to drugs.
- Thou shall not kill.
There are, however, many other times when the decisions are more difficult.
There is a man that has a wife and two young children. He is working a full-time job, helping to home school his kids, staying involved in his church, and building a business on the side. Somewhere in between all of that, I think he finds a little time to sleep and eat. He struggles to find – or make – time to watch his health. To compensate for a lack of sleep, he drinks too much Dr. Pepper and overeats.
The decisions he faces not always a matter of right vs. wrong.
It’s a matter of good vs. best.
In this podcast, we have talk about this topic in different ways. Rory Vaden came on the show to share his message from his book, “Procrastinate on Purpose.” He emphasized that our decisions should not be made simply with the urgency or importance factor, but also with the significance factor. In other words, not just “how soon does it matter” or “how much does it matter,” but “how long will it matter.”
I also shared some things from the book, “Essentialism.” The author, Greg McKoewn, boils it down to doing only those things that are truly essential.
Remember that guy I talked about a minute ago? Well, that’s me. I constantly struggle with managing myself and the things I need to get done. The list I mentioned is only a simplified summary. If I were to list everything out that is on my invisible to-do list, you would wonder how I get everything done.
I wonder the same thing.
The truth is, though, that many times things don’t get done – or at least they don’t all get done on time or done to the best of my ability.
The reason for this is three-fold:
- I over-commit to things. I say “yes” too often, not considering what else needs to be done.
- I don’t properly manage myself. Time can’t be managed (another lesson from Rory Vaden), only yourself. I need to manage my own actions better.
- I don’t focus enough. There are times of focus, but there are plenty of times when I shift my attention too much that I stay busy but don’t accomplish much.
This isn’t all about me, but there are some lessons that I’m learning that are beneficial for you.
In Scripture there is a well-known story where Jesus visits Mary and Martha. Martha keeps herself busy doing various chores around the house while Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him. If you know the story, you know that Martha gets upset at Mary’s “laziness.” Jesus, however, tells Martha that she is cumbered about many things, but that Mary has chosen that good part.
The moral of the story is not that work is bad and that we should only spend time learning at Jesus’ feet. Work is good. Work is necessary.
Jesus was simply teaching Martha that there is a time and place for work, as well as a time for being quiet and learning.
Solomon shares this same wisdom in Ecc. 3 by stating that everything has a time and a season.
That leads to the lesson I want to emphasize:
Life is seasonal
I used to promote the Wheel of Life philosophy. With this, there are 7 main areas of life, such as career, financial, and spiritual. The goal is to keep a balance in each of the areas so that your wheel doesn’t get flat in an area.
While I still believe that it’s important to be “well rounded,” we need to realize that life doesn’t always work that way.
For me, one of my focuses right now is building my business. It’s not getting all of my attention – I still have my full time job, my family, and my church. These all have an important part in my life. If I were to put all my focus and attention on my business, I’d probably be able to grow the business faster.
While growing the business faster would have many benefits, there are also several downfalls:
- One of the reasons for building my business is so I can help more with my church. I have several gifts and abilities that I’m able to use at my church. This doesn’t mean that I volunteer for everything. I was recently asked to become a Sunday School teacher, but I turned it down because I knew it would take more attention from the other areas in my life. So I can’t do everything, but I need to do some things.
- I’d be ignoring my family. As any parent understands, children grow up quickly. I don’t like missing things in my kids’ lives. I realize that I can’t make it to everything, but I don’t want to miss everything either. I choose to spend some time with my wife and kids on a regular basis because, outside of my relationship with God, they are the most important people to me.
- On the business end, if I grow quickly, the money will be nice and I may be able to make the transition from my current job to working for myself sooner. However, if I grow to fast, I won’t be able to make adjustments as well. Growing slowly is allowing me to see the little holes in my processes. If I grow to fast, I’ll have more people to apologize to and more things to fix.
I’ve been able to see almost a 400% increase in my business over the past couple months – going from about $150/month to almost $600/month projected in October.
This growth is what has brought this topic of priorities to the top of my mind.
This podcast, for example, has had an impact because of the growth in my business. It’s been almost a month since the last podcast episode. I have been focusing on working with my new clients and their podcasts that I have neglected my own podcasts.
I’m trying to get things in place that will help me to get back to bringing episodes here regularly, but things may be a little more sporadic this next month since I’m helping two different clients launch a podcast for the first time. I may also be helping another client launch a second podcast.
I remind myself that this time is just a season. It’s not going to last forever.
My hope and goal is that I will be able to grow the business enough in the next six months that I’ll be able to have a definite plan to make my career transition. I know I won’t magically have a whole bunch of time, but I should have better control of it.
Thinking about my priorities, there is something else I’m reminded of:
“Do the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary.”
This is an idea from the book “The One Thing.” I haven’t read the book yet, but I have it on Audible to listen to next.
This idea makes me think about the things I need to do and how each one may impact the others.
That’s the question I’d like to leave with you:
When you are facing the decision of what you should do, what is the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?