I have good news and bad news, Dads. First the bad news: you can’t do it all. That long to-do list you have staring at you? Working harder, longer and more frantically will not help you get all your boxes checked. The reason is because more tasks, more responsibilities, and more activities keep piling on. But the harder you try to do everything, the more frustrated you become. The hard truth is that there simply isn’t enough time to do everything there is to do. Of course we know this intuitively, but for some reason we keep on trying to do it all—probably because we don’t really know what else to do.
And if you are like most men, one of the first things to go is your own fitness and health. Who has time to go to the gym when you are buried under 6 weeks of backlogged to-do’s? Now for the good news: there is a way out. You see, when you try to do everything, the most important tasks get mixed up with the least important tasks. The result is that you end up spending precious time on things that do not move you toward your goals. If you are doing things that do not move you toward your goals, you are, in fact, moving away from your goals. You only have so much energy, and you only have so much time. The key is to make sure that you are focusing on the most important tasks.
The only way to sort through your to-do list and decide which tasks are the most important is to know where you are headed.
What are your goals? What things do you want to change? Where do you want to be in 6 months, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years? What is your goal in relation to your kids, your wife, your job? How is your health? How fit and healthy do you really want to be?
We’re looking at your top goals right now: the big ones. This doesn’t mean that you do not have other goals, but these are the ones that get priority no matter what else is going on.
Stop doing some things
Once you know what your goals are, you can take a critical look at how you spend your day.
Each day, you do a lot of things and you expend a lot of energy. Where are you focusing most of your best energy and concentration? Every task can be assigned a value—it is either a high value task or it is a low value task. High value tasks are those tasks that move you in the direction of your established goals. Low value tasks are those tasks that do not move you in the direction of your goals. It’s that simple.
So in order to reach your goals, you must open up more time for those high value tasks that propel you forward. And the only way to do this is to stop doing some of your low value tasks.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Some of those low value tasks may be important, just less important than others. This is where you will have to get creative.
- If you can eliminate it, just toss it out. For example, if your goal is to decrease your diabetes medication by exercising more, get rid of the low value hour you spend daily checking facebook and watching the nightly news.
- Think efficiency: can you systematize it? Checking email may be important, but checking several times a day uses valuable time and energy. Let your clients know that you will only be checking email twice a day, and tell them what time you will be doing this. This will free up time for more valuable activities such as working out or preparing nutritious food.
- Pass it along: delegate it! There are some things you can stop doing because you hand them to someone else. Can your son start mowing the yard for you? Can you hire someone to do some of your tasks more cheaply than you can do them yourself?
Remember: every second you spend on activities that do not move you toward your goal takes you in the opposite direction from your goal. Live intentionally!
You are now positioned for success. You have set your goals, you have stopped doing the things that don’t move you toward those goals, and you have freed up energy and time to focus on the highest value tasks.
Your to-do list should look a lot different now. It should be, well, doable as opposed to a bottomless pit of never finished pressures.
The only way to get fit is to make it a top priority. It should feel urgent. It should be one of your top goals. Why? Because if you squander your health, you will be forced to give up much of what you love and enjoy. But keep your health and you stay positioned for success.
Spend time this Father’s Day deciding what you can stop doing so that you have the time and energy to live with intention and direction. Get ready to change your life.