Like most people, I constantly feel swamped with the amount of work I have to get done.
At the church, most weeks I have to write two sermons, play in the high school worship band, manage multiple long term projects, send countless emails etc. etc. etc. That’s just at the church. At home I have a family who needs me personally, a lawn that needs trimming, a house that needs cleaning, a garage which needs clearing, and a blog in need of posts.
There’s always more to be done.
I’m sure most of you can relate to the experience of looking back over a long day and thinking to yourself, “What did I get done today?“
Recently I was watching a vodcast by Phil Cooke on being more effective, and he threw out this idea (which I’m heavily paraphrasing),
“When you wake up, don’t check your email. Whenever you show up to work, don’t check our email (again). The first thing you should do when you show up to work is do the most important thing you have to do that day. That way you know you will accomplish something important every day.”
I put my own spin on the idea and came up with this simple question.
It sounds like it’s such an obvious question that I shouldn’t have to share it, but we live in a world where we constantly let URGENT things trump IMPORTANT things. As much as I love my iPhone, it allows far too many things to have urgent access to me.
Think about how much more productive and fulfilled you would be if you decided to do something important (even if it’s very small) every two or three hours. At the end of each day you could look back and see four or five IMPORTANT things you had intentionally done that day.
What do we do instead…
- How many times have I shown up to work sorted and checked my email right off the bat?
- How many times have I stressed out about a sermon because I spent too much time fiddling with the the alignment on my power points rather than finishing the sermon itself?
- How many times have I come home from work and immediately jumped onto Facebook rather than helping my wife clean the house?
Think about the applications:
- What is the most important thing you can do when you show up to work?
- What is the most important thing you can do when you get home from work?
- What is the most important thing you can do when your spouse gets home from work?
- What is the most important thing you can do with your family today?
- What is the most important thing you can do for your children today?
- What is the most important thing you can do with a project you’re currently working on?
- What is the most important email you need to send right now?
- What is the most important phone call you need to make right now?