This is a principle so simple and yet so profound, it will completely change your life if you consistently practice it.
I have written about this previously under the title of Creating an Annual Time Block. However, I just stumbled across this video by Stephen Covey. He describes a similar exercise in his book, First Things First. It is well worth taking seven minutes to watch it.
The big idea is that you must schedule time for your most important priorities first. If you don’t, you will never get to them.
A corollary to this principle is this: what gets scheduled gets done. The opposite is also true: what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.
Here a few “rocks” you might consider scheduling first:
- Pursuit of God. When do you spend time reading the Bible and praying?
- Intellectual Growth. What books do you want to read? What conferences do you want to attend? If you don’t schedule time for this, it won’t happen. Remember: leaders are readers and readers are leaders.
- Physical Exercise. Do you have a defined exercise routine? When do you do it? How much time do you spend? You are choosing today the quality of life you will experience in ten years.
- Your Spouse. Do you have a daily time for debriefing and checking in emotionally? Do you have a weekly date night? Great marriages don’t just happen. They are cultivated. In my opinion, your marriage is your most strategic asset—or liability.
- Important Projects. The tyranny of the urgent will crowd out the important if you aren’t careful. This is the secret of highly productive people. They schedule time for the really important projects so they don’t get side-tracked by trivial pursuits.
The only way to do this practically is by looking ahead on your calendar. Schedule the important stuff first, before someone else grabs the time.