In prioritizing your time, the first consideration is a task’s immediacy. You may think, and rightly so, that if you only do what’s necessary right now, your actions will always be completely reactionary. Plus, “failing to plan is planning to fail,” right? Planning for the future is a good thing, and the way that you plan should affect your priorities now. Time is your most precious asset, so spend it on things worthy of investment.
In planning my priorities, I used to try to determine what use of time would be “most productive.” However, it was always so speculative. Who knows what an hour of effort will produce? So much hard work goes to waste, because many things are out of your control. Most things. For example, you could spend countless hours on the perfect plan, and one natural disaster could render it worthless in an instant. On the opposite end of the futility spectrum, many unintended benefits can result from a seeming waste of time. No matter what tangible results may be come from your efforts, each day and every situation can teach you lessons if you’re a willing student.
Since productivity is too speculative a measure, there are two things I consider to determine what’s worthy of investment: (1) Do I love it? (2) Will it matter in the future?
First, investing in something you love will always be a good investment. Plus, learning about something you love, in itself, is satisfying. In addition, I firmly believe that when you do what you love, it will lead to more opportunities. For example, I love music. So, going to see live music is a priority for me. Consequently, I once landed an amazing internship at a record label by going to a live show and, fortuitously, meeting the promoter! Talk about unintended benefits.
Second, keeping the future in mind gives you proper perspective in the present. If something won’t matter in five years, don’t let it consume your energy and emotions! This applies to all areas of life. For instance, you will have to live with your body longer than you will have any career, so take care of yourself first. Also, remember to invest in relationships. Develop real relationships with those you’re committed to. Sadly, the relationships that will matter in the long run, like spouses and parents, are those we most often take for granted. Let them know they are important to you now!
For women of faith, being future-minded takes on an extra dimension. While this life will end someday, there are things in life that have eternal importance. This awareness should underpin all decisions about priorities. Life is so short. Make it count!
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