If we all received time in the form of a weekly paycheck, much like we do our money, we would treat it differently. Most of us prioritize our money such that our mortgage and bills are covered first, then we figure out how to spend the rest. Unfortunately, we don’t always treat our time the same way. Time slips away. Money slips away. Unless you plan for it. The answer to planning for your time and money… priorities.
Start With A Vision
Start by asking yourself what’s most important in your life: God, family, work, health, fitness, recreation, travel, community service, material possessions, etc. Think about where you want to spend your time and money. "If you want to know what a person values, take a look at their calendar and their checkbook." What would you like your calendar to look like? What would you like your checkbook to look like? Write them down - it’s the starting point for your priorities. "...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~Matthew 6:21.
Define Your Legacy
Now let’s ask a more morbid but very relevant question. What would you like people to someday say at your funeral? How do you want your children and their children to someday remember you? What words would you like them to use? Will they refer to you as loving, caring, kind, generous, Godly, inspirational, leader, present, focused? Now you have a second list of words for your priorities.
"You can do anything you want in life, you just can’t do everything.” ~David Allen. I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you want something done, you give it to a busy person. Busy people prioritize, they’re motivated, and they know how to get things done. Priorities set the stage for making the key decisions in your life - how to spend your time and money. Look at the two lists generated above, and pit them against one another. Ask yourself if you had an hour to spend on something or $100 to spend on something, what would you rather spend it on?
Create Your Personal Statement of Priorities
Based on the priorities activity above, create your sequenced statement that reflects how you want to spend your time and treasure as well as what you want your legacy to be. For example:
- My first priority is to live a Christ-centric life in which my love and light shine upon others
- My second priority is to be a family-oriented person who is a loving, caring, engaged family leader
- My third priority is to exemplify a healthy lifestyle in which my choices are a role model to others
- My fourth priority is to be an exceptional leader at work who inspires and motivates others to become their very best
Go ahead, create yours now...
Chances are, the current views of your checkbook and calendar don’t align with what you’d like them to be. “The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment, to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become!” ~Charles Du Bos. Prepare yourself to live according to your personal statement of priorities. Stop wasting time and money on things that aren’t important to you. Start investing your time, talent, and treasure in those things that will pay dividends for the rest of your life… and beyond.