No Time to Drift (and 4 Questions to Help Prioritize Time)

A new condition has surfaced recently called FOMO (probably not that recent but hey, I’m frequently behind the times).

FOMO stands for “Fear Of Missing Out” and conveys in four words the reason so many of us experience priority issues. 

Take me as an example of the struggle. I have a hard time going to bed early. If I have the opportunity to meet up with a friend after work, I want to take it. We meet on the opposite side of town and we don’t meet that often so we’re generally out late. And that makes me tired.

Or given an opportunity that I may not have in the future, I’ll take it for fear of missing out.

I read a book in the past year by Michael Hyatt, a time management and productivity expert, called Living Forward. He says that no one gets to where they want to go by drifting.

If you have FOMO like me, you’re likely to drift.

That is unless you’re intentional about your priorities. This is where I’m at right now. Here are a few of my priorities that I’m working to pursue so I don’t drift.

CLEAN DISHES

Ok, so this is kind of a joke. But I seriously would’t finish this blog post until I finished cleaning dishes. I hate a full sink. Ok, onto the serious ones.

WRITING

I’m working on writing a lot more. For one, I wrote a book. Two, I’m writing on this blog once a week in order to help develop my writing voice more fully and improve my communication.

Priority: Practicing my writing voice regularly in order to gain more experience and understanding of effective communication. 

SPIRITUAL LEARNING

I’m trying to grow spiritually through the reading of my Bible and learning through fellow Christians’ writing and teaching. This is a particularly difficult one for me if I am being honest. I find it difficult to really spend the time that I would like on spiritual learning, particularly in reading my Bible. I read a portion of scripture every night with Bailey, though sometimes our comprehension is low due to heavy eyes.

I listen to 5 sermons per week outside of the sermon I hear on Sunday morning. I’m actively involved in a biweekly Bible study. As a part of my new year’s reading goal, I am working on reading 1000 pages of spiritual learning books. Currently I’m reading Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Everybody, Always by Bob Goff.

This all will by God’s grace push me to a deeper relationship with Him. Of course, nothing I do will change His love for me but pursuing that relationship will make a difference on how I view His Word and how He works in my life.

Priority: Growing closer in my relationship to God so that I can more effectively share Him with others.

PHYSICAL FITNESS

I’m working to develop healthier habits when it comes to staying active. Given my new year’s goal, Bailey and I have been going to the gym regularly about 10 times per month. Recently this has been particularly difficult because of both of our schedules which is why we have been considering an earlier morning workout to start the day.

Priority: Developing habits of physical activity to remain healthy in the coming years.

FINANCIAL HEALTH

Bailey and I both have dreams for the future. We want to own a home in less than 15 years. We want to continue to cashflow the remainder of her education without taking out any loans. We want to continue increasing the percentage we give to church and other organizations every year. We want to consistently save for retirement by delaying gratification.

Priority: Budgeting monthly, tracking expenses, saving and talking regularly about financial goals. 

RELATIONSHIP WITH BAILEY

Bailey’s my wife and I value our relationship greatly. From our relationship will stem the growth we experience together (both personally and spiritually) as well as the environment in which our future children will be raised (Lord willing). Because of this, we aim to spend at least one night per week doing something together. Maybe it’s taking a walk and watching a show. Or grilling out. Or hitting a local rodeo (that’s a recent one). The key is we are attempting to strengthen our relationship so that our kids have a strong home in which they can grow up. And that will bleed into innumerable other areas of life.

Priority: Cultivating a loving and growing relationship with my wife and raising godly children.

Here’s the list I like quite a bit less.

THINGS I NEED TO WORK ON PRIORITIZING

  1. Sleep (I hate to admit it but the amount of sleep I get is abysmal)
  2. Biblical reading (I only read my Bible before work if I conveniently have time)
  3. Organization (I am utterly horrible at putting papers away, keeping my office clean and knowing where things are when I’m looking for them. Setting things down after work is something Bailey would say is one of her husband’s many flaws.
  4. Healthy eating (Yeah so I like mac n’ cheese a lot. What about it?)

 

So how do we overcome these areas in which we need to learn prioritization?

Here are 4 questions I ask that can help you determine your priorities as well:

1. What do you want?

Do you want financial freedom? How about a healthy lifestyle? Do you want it enough?

2. Why do you want it?

Are you tired of debt? Sick of living paycheck to paycheck? Do you not want to be winded when you get to your office after taking the steps? On a more personal level, you have to Start with Why as leadership expert, Simon Sinek, would say.

3. What steps do you need to take to prioritize [blank] starting today?

How about skip the Starbucks and put that $4 to paying off the student loans? If this is what it takes, open a bank account and put money into it every day that would have been coffee money. Or take a walk over lunch break if health is your priority. I try to do this daily and it is remarkably refreshing! Break these down into small, manageable goals. But make it something you can do today.

4. Who can help you with your priorities?

Does one of your friends have their financial life together? They’d be a great person to help keep you accountable. Do you know someone who’s fit and hits the gym? Ask them to help you. Chances are they will be more than happy to help.

Conclusion (YAY)

I want to be clear, I certainly don’t have all my priorities straight. I struggle with them, just like you. However, I know life is too short to drift or have regrets at the end so I better have a plan for my time now.

Also, I’m sorry if you got this whole thing in email. It’s super long.

-Caleb

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