This morning at Connection Point, I taught on the importance of selecting the right priorities God has for you and then scheduling those priorities on your weekly calendar. Did you know that the average person makes the same New Year's resolution ten times with no success? Why is that? Because they haven't learned how to align their lives with their priorities.
Instead of spending your New Year's Day making wishful-thinking resolutions, try scheduling your goals instead. I once asked my Life and Leadership Coach, Joe Calhoon, what was the best piece of advice he could ever give someone. Here's what he said to me: "Plan your week before you live your week every single week." He said that every Sunday, he has a time where he prayerfully seeks what the Lord would have Him to accomplish in the coming week.
If you think about it, each week contains 168 hours of time that must be budgeted. If you were to break down your week into thirds, it would look something like this:
- 56 hours for sleep (if you take the recommended 8 hours of sleep a day)
- 56 hours for work (assuming an average full-time work day plus commute)
- 56 hours for everything else.
Many people don't spend any time at all planning their life. We all know how important it is to set a budget. When jt comes to money management, don't ask where your money went - tell it where to go. When it comes to time management, don't ask where it went - tell it where to go. So the issue is not "Will my calendar be full?" but what will fill my calendar? The problem is not prioritizing our schedule but scheduling our priorities. Our time, like our money, must be budgeted. So how do we prioritize our goals for the coming year?
Here's a technique I learned from Darren Hardy. It involves taking a sheet of paper and drawing four quadrants. Number them left to right: Goal #1, Goal #2, Goal #3, and the last quadrant is "Miscellaneous." You might have more than three goals (right now, I've got 11 goals for 2018), but you can really only focus on about three at any given time. So every Sunday evening, make this the prayer of your week before you start your Monday. Every task, every meeting request, every phone call, everything you plan to do that week needs to correspond to one of your top 3 goals OR the miscellaneous box.
Here's where a lot of us go wrong: we tend to live consistently in the "box of the miscellaneous." We become victims to the loudest voices or the latest demands around us. When it comes to our daily schedule, we're reactive, not proactive.
There are 3 big benefits to using a weekly planning system like this:
- It takes all the details of your upcoming week that are swimming around in your head and allows you to see your week on a single sheet of paper. Just getting it off your mind and onto paper will take a great load of stress off your shoulders. Dawson Trotman says, "Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips."
- Instead of writing your to-do's in one long list, this paper requires you to categorize everything into one of your top three goals OR the miscellaneous box. When you first start doing this, you'll come to the sad realization that most of your "to-do's" are falling into the miscellaneous section. If you didn't use this tool, you would spend most of your week there instead of allocating your precious time towards the goals God has laid on your heart.
- You'll be able to realize that perhaps 1 or 2 of your goals are being totally neglected. We start out every New Year's with grand intentions, but then as the year goes on we miss out on our goals. Those things that matter least shouldn't get in the way of those things that matter most.
So there you have it! I want you encourage you to start off 2018 by not just setting goals for the new year, but aligning those goals/priorities with your weekly schedule. To download the worksheet that I use, you can access the Weekly Planning System here.