In June of 2020 I published an article entitled Giving Your Very Best. This was one of my favorite posts because it talked about the importance of digging deep and finding out what we are really capable of achieving. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I’d encourage you to click the link above. There’s a very inspirational embedded video that encapsulates what it means to give more than we thought we could.
After recently re-reading the article, I was reminded of the concept of Good, Better, and Best. The Good-Better-Best model is often applied to product lines and marketing campaigns but let look at it from the perspective of Giving Your Best.
So many choices, not enough time
Most of us have more expected of us than we can possible do. We face many choices when it comes to how we will spend our time. We have to realize that just because something is "good" doesn't necessarily mean that we should devote time and energy to it. When we are presented with choices, there can be lots of "good" choices but we need to look deeper to find out if those choices will really provide the outcomes that we are looking for. If we look deeper, will we find a choice that might be better than good? Or might we find a choice that rises to the top of the list and gets us to where we want to go with the most efficient use of our time and energy? Often we settle for the first couple choices that are placed in front of us because we think that movement - any movement - is better than doing nothing.
What are the things in your life to which you are intensely devoted and dedicated? What are the things you spend your time on – not just the amount of time, but your best time? Your children? Thinking? Exercising? Eating? A book club? Visiting? Let’s say you had to drop four things from your life to free up some time. What would you drop? And how would you decide? For what would you drop everything? Think carefully about your answers…it will reveal a lot about what you consider important. What are your highest priorities? Establishing what is most important will help guide you in making the ‘best’ choices.
Life really can be a trial and most days we wonder if we are receiving a passing grade. Each day is full of challenges and we may feel we are performing a balancing act with too many balls in the air. I remember when I was (as usual) trying to do too much one day. A friend said, “You have too many windows open on your computer. You know what happens next . . . your computer CRASHES!” No one wants to see that dreaded “blue screen of death”…the one that confirms that the worst has happened and your system has critically failed. We need to prioritize and prune the non essentials from our lives before we too crash and possibly let some of the balls we are juggling drop and hit the figurative ground.
“There is a need to erase the chalkboard of our schedules, step out of the classroom of our routine, and discover again and again how beautiful the world really is,” says Ardeth Greene Kapp in her book Better Than You Think You Are. “There is a need to interrupt what’s on our planners and take a little time out. Certainly this life has a multiplicity of demands. We have so many lessons to learn, and sometimes our chalkboard is filled with lists and lists of things that need to be done, with places to go and things to do and see. But as we focus on the chalkboard, we miss the lilacs in the spring, they come and go so fast. This season let’s take time out to smell the lilacs and see the daisies. When we take time to lay our pencils down and look up from our books, even briefly, we will celebrate the temporary and cherish the time.”
I recently read an article in Life Hack that said: “To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.
In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Thing”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.”
Some final advice
This is practical advice to determine the ‘best’ use of your time and energy on any day. Think about your particular needs at this time in your life. It may be to get an education, it may be to be a grandparent, it may be to care for and relieve the suffering of someone you love, it may be to do a job in the most excellent way possible. Work is important but it cannot be the MOST important. What we need to accomplish in a given day is varied and changes over time. Don’t take it lightly. Give your full heart and energy to the task before you, but make sure you are choosing the right tasks. Do them with enthusiasm. Do whatever you have to do this week with your whole heart and soul. To do less than this will leave you with an empty feeling.