Can you find more time to do the things that truly matter to you? How can you devote your energy to what’s truly important?
Robbins spoke passionately about the need to determine what one’s life purpose was, focus on the things which truly matter, and develop an action plan to achieve it.
One of the areas which struck me most was the issue of time management.
To be effective and efficient in the limited hours and days of your life, you need to manage your time proactively so that you ultimately spend most of it on what’s important and not urgent, ie The Zone. This is the sweet spot and target right in the middle of your life’s dart board. Before getting there, however, you need to understand the four concentric dimensions of your life.
Let us go through each of this in turn.
First, there is the Dimension of Distraction. These are all the time and energy wasting stuff which you do every single day. Whatever you can classify as Not Important And Not Urgent belongs to this outer ring of the dart board.
What are examples of time wasters? Well, all the frivolous things which you do whenever you feel bored or stressed out. They include surfing the web, checking your Facebook page (repeatedly), playing games on your smartphone, watching TV, or snacking unhealthily.
This is what Robbins called the “No Man’s Land” – an area where nothing can be achieved or gained.
The next concentric circle is the Dimension of Delusion. These are stuff that are Urgent But Not Important.
So what belongs to this middle circle?
Well, they include the numerous interruptions that you may face from friends, colleagues, associates or telemarketers who call, text, message or email you over something fairly innocuous (eg watching a movie, deciding on where to go for lunch, or going for a shopping trip).
Those of us who spend a lot of time on social networks need to be careful here (gulp). We can spend all our time going for all the events, errands, meet-ups and what have you that we neglect what’s important for ourselves. And the ones whom we love most.
The third ring, which is probably the most stressful one, is the Dimension of Demand. This would cover all other things which are Urgent And Important.
What would constitute activities which belong to the Dimension of Demand?
Well, 999 (or 911) emergencies like a fire which broke out in your home, a robbery, or a major emergency. Beyond this, the sickness of a colleague, death of a loved one, or an irate client who called and threatened you would constitute things which are urgent and important.
Handling these items require expediency due to their urgency. They are also extremely disruptive to your life. To resolve these, you should try to plan ahead as much as possible to anticipate them.
Finally, the bull’s eye in the target board is The ZONE (aka the Dimension of Fulfillment) which covers stuff that are Very Important, But Not Urgent.
To succeed and be a winner, your primary area of focus should be in doing things in the Zone, because these are things that truly matter to you. However, you need to find ways to manage all the other activities in the other circles such that they don’t crowd out your time.
What are some of these items? Well, they may include spending time with your family over dinner, writing your book (or blog post), or going for a regular run or walk.
You can visualise these different concentric rings by the visual below (special thanks to Mary Crimmins!)
How can you spend more time in the Zone then? Here are some tips for you to start off with.
First, you should try to eliminate all the distractions and take them out of your life. Change your life habits and convert your time to doing something more meaningful.
Next, choose what and to whom you should respond to, rather than be obliged to accede to every request which comes your way. Learn to say “NO” and let others know that your time is valuable to you.
Find a way to spend more time on stuff that you can control – even if you cannot truly influence their outcomes. These are things that help to build up your knowledge, your relationships, and your personal power.
Finally, it is very important to manage your emotions. Don’t sweat the small stuff or let gossips, rumours and slanders influence the state of your heart.
Focus your energies on what’s positive rather than negative, while not becoming totally oblivious to the reality of what’s happening around you.
By living a life of purpose and focusing on the things that are important and not urgent, you are able to reduce your stress levels, improve your personal effectiveness, and be well prepared to travel on the road to success.
Are there other strategies you’d adopt to make your year more fulfilling? I’d love to hear them.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” – Tony Robbins