Having It All Together … Right!

You probably know someone who seems to always have it together.  They are everywhere and in everything. To the naked eye they always seem to excel at everything they do.  

There is no slowing down! Is there a committee? They’re on it. Have an event that needs organizing? Ready to go! They are raising 55 children and spent quality time with each of them. Working two full-time jobs. Volunteer at the local shelter. Raising money to fight some disease. Writing a book. And have the happiest spouse in the world.

Social media amplifies this picture. Not only do we get descriptions but also vivid pictures of their perfect life, perfect children, perfect job, and idyllic state of mind.

In reality, there are parts of their lives that are neglected. That’s not a maybe, it’s a certainty. The picture we see, often filled in with our own perceptions, is a flawed photo.  I exaggerated the description above intentionally because that’s what we often do when we think about those high achieving types. We make them bigger than they are. Then we compare ourselves to them, imagining that they have everything in their perfect life while our lives are hollow shells full of meaningless events and a cesspool of problems.  It’s unfair!

The law of sacrifice cannot be violated

It’s also unreal.  The truth is that people who seem to have it together are not living perfect lives.  They may be accomplishing more than we are right now, but that’s not because they have it all together.  It’s not because they are necessarily more talented than we are; in fact, often they may be less talented.  And they have problems too, they just don’t share them around as much as some others do. THEY KNOW THAT EVERY THOUGHT THAT HITS THEIR HEAD DOESN’T HAVE TO HIT SOCIAL MEDIA!

Applying the Law

But what they really have that helps them succeed is an good understanding and effective application of the Law of Sacrifice.  As one of my mentors John Maxwell says, “You must give up to go up“.  You have to let go of some things in order to have other better things.

That’s a scary prospect for many of us and perhaps even a little depressing.  When we think about the Law of Sacrifice or giving up, we picture big things.  We can become a CEO but our family life is non-existent. If we want to make a lot of money we have to get rid of our moral compass.

Again, it’s that penchant for exaggeration.  And it’s also good old resistance helping us find reasons to not make any changes.

Simplicity in the law of Sacrifice

Even a time turner can't save you from the Law of SacrificeIn truth, the Law of Sacrifice is actually pretty simple. It’s all about priorities. Every single one of us has the same 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Barring Hermione Granger passing down her Time Turner to us (which you can actually buy) we cannot change that restriction on our lives.

That being the case, we change what we can. If we can’t change time, we change how we invest our time. Most of what takes up our time aren’t major things, they are trivial things. Therefore, most of the sacrifices we have to make are not between two high priorities, but between a high priority and a low priority.

Giving Up Good for Better

You actually look at giving up lesser things in order to get greater things.  You sacrifice an hour of television time every day in order to read a personal growth book.  Give up a couple of free evenings each week to work on a master’s degree.  When you learn to really apply the Law of Sacrifice, what you are really doing is simply learning to

Say No to the Good So You Can Say Yes to the Best

My father excelled in the credit union business during his career.  He was President and CEO of several credit unions over the span of many years and also was a high demand consultant to credit unions nationwide for many years after that.  He was a pioneer in the industry. We have the largest ATM network in the country due to his efforts.

To get there, he had to spend long hours working. He gave up some evenings of watching TV to earn a GED and then a degree.  Yet, he was never an absentee husband or father.  He coached Drum Corps and Little League.  He was a Scoutmaster. We went on trips.  Dad was at dance recitals for my sister.  While there were sacrifices to reach the level he achieved the sacrifices were giving up lesser things to get those greater things.  He did not give up one great thing to achieve another. Was he perfect? Did he mess up the choices sometimes? Certainly. Yet he made the decision and honored the commitment.

Obey the Law and Love It

Know that you have to give up to go up. The Law of Sacrifice is alive and well and it is immutable.

Embrace that. While it sounds like you are being deprived you are actually being set free. When you apply the Law of Sacrifice and set your priorities it frees you from what isn’t a priority. When you shape your schedule around those things that are priorities, it frees you up to say no to scheduling lesser priorities.

Some laws are intended to provide liberty instead of tyranny. When you apply the Law of Sacrifice there will be hard choices to make. But the good news is that the choice is always yours.

do you have trouble finding clarity on your priorities? Not sure where to start? contact me today for a free discovery strategy session.

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Re-setting Time

Trying to manage timeThis past week was the time for most where we change our clocks to end Daylight Saving Time.  I remembered it always, as many did, by the phrase “Spring Forward, Fall Back“.  Of course, most of us don’t have to worry about it much anymore as our computers and smartphones will do it for us.  That, and a few years ago I got one of those alarm clocks that automatically adjusts for Daylight Saving Time.  After that, my only chore is to go re-set the ones that don’t automatically adjust.

The gist of it for us is that we theoretically “gained an hour” this weekend.  Never mind that we really just get back the one we lost in the Spring, everyone looks at as gaining an hour.

So here’s a question for you:

how much more productive did that “extra hour” make you this weekend?

Since it occurs in the middle of the night, likely the only benefit most see from it is the extra hour of sleep (that you lost in the Spring).  Some, like me, got up at the same time as always, usually around 5 a.m., and followed our normal routine.  Being a weekend, many were taking time off from being really productive anyway; but even if we weren’t it is doubtful that the extra hour made us any more productive.  It has more to do than just with the fact that the change occurs in the middle of the night.

Time is Not Important

Time is not what makes us productive.  With each tick of the clock, time passes no matter what.  Twenty-four hours and today becomes yesterday, tomorrow becomes today.  That’s all any of us ever have; from the President of the United States to the most successful person in your organization to the least productive person you know.  Everyone has 24 hours in a day.  Yet, many times, our time is frittered away with things like

  • Constantly checking our Facebook page (this has become one of the biggest wasters around)
  • Playing games, either online, on a smartphone or tablet, or on a game box
  • Television (and most of it is trash)
  • Procrastinating
  • Going to meetings
  • Being somewhere else in our mind other than where we are
  • Running in multiple directions throughout the day

There is, of course, much more but that is a good start.

Your 110

A good friend of mine and a very wise person, Jeff Bigby of Awaken the Nation, shows the math of our time in his presentations.  Jeff asks his workshop participants about how they spend their 110.  See, Jeff points out the following formula on your weekly schedule:

  • There are 168 hours in a week
    • We spend an average of 56 hours sleeping (assuming you are sleeping eight hours)
    • We spend 40 hours working (or more, not including the commute)
    • About two hours a day in meals for a total of 14 hours per week
    • That leaves about 58 hours per week.
    • Go to church?  Let’s say two hours.  That’s 56 left or 8 hours a day.

110 hours a week is manageable time

So, in that eight hours a day we have “administrative” things we have to do during the day, plus whatever else we want to do to.  Reading, family time, devotional/meditation time, community service, watching television, etc.  The point is that there is a part of your week you have limited control over.  Most of us NEED eight hours of sleep a night.  Most of us MUST work 8 hours a day for five days a week.  Eating 3-5 regular meals a day is CRITICAL to good health (as is eating the right things)!  So we have 110 hours a week over which we have almost total control!

So the issue is not time; it is how productively you are using that time.  You cannot manage time, no matter how hard you try.  So, what do you manage?

Manage YOU Not Time

I am no different from you on this.  I waste time pretty much every day.  But I have become aware of that and aware of my ability to make choices in changing that and examining my time wasters.  If I can do that, I am extremely confident that you can too.  Here’s some of the things I am doing to help bring that under control:

  1. Prioritize and Categorize
    Establish things into areas of must do, should do, nice to do for the week.  Ideally, do this on Sunday night or Monday morning.  Within each of those categorize them based on the part of your life they address; such as work project, family, health, etc.  Within each category, number them based on importance.  The importance is determined by time constraint, critical stage, or just your own personal plan.
  2.  The Daily Big Three
    Each morning, or the night before, list the top three things you need to carry out that day.  Take the top items of each category and place them on your list.  Number those according to importance.  There may be more than three, but the point is that you don’t go to bed tonight without accomplishing the Big Three.  Place the bullfrogs at the top of the list; the things you procrasitate on or simply hate to do.  Get them out of the way first thing and the rest of the day will be pleasant by comparison.
  3. Self-Talk
    It doesn’t matter what others say to us, it matters what we say to ourselves.  Encourage yourself. Talk yourself up.  Remember what you are made of.  Many of your tasks will be things you don’t want to do, have often gone out of your way to avoid, and might even be incredibly boring.  If you don’t talk yourself up, you will simply find another excuse.
  4. Reward System
    For each item accomplished, provide a reward of some type.  It should be a reward that is quick, easy, and yet provides incentive.  If you are a Facebook fanatic, each item completed earns you 15 minutes of Facebook time.  Now, for that to be a real incentive has to mean that you aren’t getting Facebook time without accomplishing the task.  If you are going to do it anyway, it’s no incentive.
  5. Consequences
    Sometimes one of the big three does not get accomplished due to something out of our control, but that’s a rarity.  Either way, fault or not, provide a consequence for not completing one of the big three.  Just like providing consequences for your kids, it has to be timely, connected, and reasonable.  For example, I read about what person who uses the consequence that when he doesn’t accomplish his tasks he wakes himself up in the middle of the night to work for an hour or two.  He values his sleep so much that it provides him incentive to manage himself better and avoid that consequence.  Be careful, though; if you find yourself administering a consequence too much it starts to lose its impact.  Change them up from time to time.
  6. Analyze
    At the end of the week, take a look back and see how things have gone.  Did things go better or worse?  Where could things have gone better?  Why?  How could you do it differently?  What can you tell yourself to help make it better?

So this is a little system I use for me.  How about you?  How do you manage yourself daily?  Got tips and tricks?  Be a river and not a reservoir!  Share them here

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