Do you find that you spend more of your time handling problems than pursuing your dreams? You are not alone. Most people when asked how they spend their time find they are managing circumstances and handling problems far more than they are actually working on achieving their dreams.
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson is one of my favorite people to read. He nails life so precisely. He admonishes us to control the focus of our lives so that they yield our hopes and desires, not just more of the same — over and over again.
One of the most common problems my entrepreneur clients have is finding time to make progress on the big stuff when the minutia is always drowning them each day–emails, managing employees, solving day-to-day problems.
This is a phenomenon of our modern technological culture. Can you imagine a farmer 200 years ago waking up with too many little tasks that he got distracted from milking the cows and planting the seeds his family needed to survive? Didn’t happen. Yet, today, most people live their lives working on the distractions rather than doing what they need to do to harvest the crop they want at the end of the season.
The only way I have found to really change this modern day cycle of busy-ness without real accomplishment is to dedicate the beginning of your day to your dreams.
Let everything else be on hold until you have fulfilled your commitment to take action on your most important priority.
At first, it will be awkward and you will be interrupted. People will not understand your new schedule and ask for your time. You will be tempted to handle just that one thing on email before starting, and get swept into an hour or more of what I call the internet black hole.
Yet, if you stick to it you will soon find that everyone and everything does just fine with you starting your interactions with email, voicemail, meetings and other daily to-do’s AFTER you have completed your main goal for the day.
- This may be a commitment to write for 30 minutes at the beginning of each day; or it could entail working until lunch every day on your new venture, new product line, or other priority.
- Your commitment might revolve around a project goal rather than a time commitment. You might start your day with making a certain number of phone calls to potential investors or other contacts before you begin the rest of your day.
- You can even end each day by deciding what tomorrow’s key accomplishment needs to be and then commit not to work on anything else until that is done.
Every client I have ever worked with–whether they wanted to become a millionaire entrepreneur, create a non-profit that helped women at risk, or improve their relationship with their children — all have said following this one piece of advice changed their success.
The only way you can be bold and create the life you choose is to control where you put your attention.