A while back, you may remember that I wrote a post on Knowing the Cost of an Opportunity.
The basic gist of that post is that whilst you are doing one thing, you lose the opportunity to do another.
For example, if you have $10,000 you can either use that money to buy a new car or you can invest it. But you can’t do both!
This post builds on that one because, in order for you to focus on your most important tasks, you need to become comfortable with chaos accumulating around you.
You can’t do everything
Everyone has 24 hours in a day and your success is dependent upon how you spend those hours.
A person earning $20,000 has the same amount of time in a day as a person who is earning $1,000,000. The difference is that the higher earner is spending their time on higher-quality tasks.
It’s very easy to mistake being busy for being productive. Yes, you may be doing tasks all day, but are those tasks going to move you one step closer to your goals?
So, we agree that you need to focus on doing the stuff that matters, but most people tend to forget the other side of the coin, which is to ignore the stuff that doesn’t matter!
This means that you need to let the chaos in!
You need to embrace the fact that trivial tasks, such as sorting the photos out on your phone, organizing your sock drawer, cleaning out the garage, filing that stack of papers, attending to your emails, etc, will need to go unattended for a while. In turn, this will create a state of chaos – and you need to embrace it!
Accept the fact that in some areas of your life, things will be all over the place, unorganized, and a bit chaotic.
This is not an excuse to be lazy!
There’s a difference between shifting your focus to working on what really matters and just being downright lazy!
I’m not advocating that you let your house chores slide in favor of a few extra hours watching your favorite TV program. And I’m not suggesting that you live like a slob in an environment of complete disarray. But you are going to need to dedicate time to work on the important stuff – the stuff that’s going to get you to the next level – and in order to do that, you’re going to have to accept temporary chaos in other parts of your life
What is getting in the way of your success?
A simple exercise is to note down all the things that you do in a week and record how much time you spend on each task.
At the end of the week, go through the list and ask yourself honestly which tasks were the most important to helping you achieve your goals and total up the amount of time spent on those tasks.
Next, total the amount of time that you spent on all the other tasks. Since the other tasks are not helping you to achieve your goal, this is simply wasted time that could have been put to better use.
Give it a try. The results may shock you.
Controlling the chaos
Chaos can be difficult to embrace, especially if you’re a bit of a neat freak like me. Too much chaos around you can cause stress to build, which is counter-productive to what we are trying to do here.
When it comes to controlling and managing the amount of chaos you allow into your life, consider the following analogy.
Imagine a juggler juggling many different balls. Some of which are made of rubber, while others are made of glass.
It doesn’t matter if the juggler drops the rubber balls because they will simply bounce back up and he can catch them again. However, if he drops a glass ball, these will either crack and will never be the same again, or they can shatter completely and be gone forever.
Now apply that analogy to your life and business.
Some things in your life are rubber balls. They can easily be dropped and picked back up again later with little or no effect. (For example, it’s ok if the car doesn’t get washed this week)
However, other things in your life are represented by glass balls. If you drop them they can be permanently damaged or destroyed. (For example, your health, and time-sensitive business opportunities)
So, at times, you must be willing to embrace the chaos and drop those rubber balls so that you can look after the glass balls, which are the ones that really matter.
Focus on what matters
Time is one of our most valuable and finite resources. The time that you wasted yesterday is gone. Poof! You’ll never get it back.
Although you may love your organized sock drawer and color-coordinated wardrobe, these tasks are not going to be influential in achieving what you want to achieve before the alarm bell rings and your time is up.
So, focus on the areas that matter, and get comfortable with chaos in the areas that don’t.
P.S. One of my fave quotes on this is, “If a messy desk symbolizes a messy mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?” – Albert Einstein
- How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Why Successful People Regularly Fail (and Why You Should Too)
- How to Buy More Money (Income-Producing Assets)
- The Trading of Time