How to Take Inventory of What Matters
I’m going to kick this off with a bit of a self-assessment that I underwent in the past week or so. I strive to post every Tuesday and Thursday and have done a very good job of that so far in 2020, I’ve only missed maybe 1 or 2 weeks. And that’s while working 40+ hours a week, taking 3 MBA courses, and pursuing other business ventures also.
I wanted to post this past Tuesday like I normally do, like I almost always do.
But I didn’t. I didn’t have anything written and I didn’t end up posting anything.
I was disappointed in myself.
Commitment and follow through are incredibly important to me.
At the same time, I wasn’t about to post something that was not of high quality. So I was conflicted. I wasn’t sure what to do.
I had just moved this past weekend to Boca Raton from West Palm Beach. Normally, I like to move quickly and efficiently — I did so again. My prior roommates were kind enough to assist me throughout the move and we finished moving everything on Sunday.
By Tuesday morning, all boxes were emptied and all that was remaining was my wall art.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” — E.B. Whitemedium.com
Then came Thursday and I was working on this piece yet again, I had almost a page of writing but that wasn’t much. I was exhausted. Thursday was a long day at the office and by the time I got home I was doing a few other things before I even opened my computer.
I was wiped.
Started writing a little more but not too much and then ended up getting too tired to actually finish writing what I started. So I had to push it back again.
That happens sometimes and I knew that if I wanted to be successful and effective at the office the next day I better not push it and should just call it a night — so I did.
Now here we are picking this piece up again on Saturday the 9th. That happens.
It’s the key to writing though, everyone that I most respect in the writing world is adamant that we must write daily.
We need momentum — that’s human. It’s far too easy to say that we will write the next day or the next or the next but if we start writing and never stop, that puts us in a great position.
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” — Steven Pressfield
You must write and write and write again.
Passions do not have to be life-changing. Passion does not have to fit in a box.medium.com
What’s important to you though?
It’s the same with anything — you have to do whatever it is that matters most if you aspire to becoming proficient at anything. The key is compounding. Practice compounds on top of practice that compounds on top of practice.
Studies show that passions come AFTER proficiencies.
What are passions? What are proficiencies? What are purposes?
“To me, passion never fits in a box. To me, passion is also never comparable.” — Harrison Wendland
Here’s one explanation from Vogel Bros. (linked here).
So what’s important to you?
I assure you that if you write down the 20 most important things that you do in a week, there are a few things that jump out.
So now, I challenge you to do that. Make a list of 20 things that you have done (or wanted to realistically do) in the past week that were the most important to you.
Then, cross out 15.
If you could ONLY do 5 things in the past week, what would they be?
(It’s not important to rank these 5, just list them)
Maybe your 5 looks something like this:
1. Family dinner
2. Office work
3. Daily bike ride
4. Lunch date picnic with your spouse
5. Movie night with the kids
Maybe your 5 looks more like this:
1. Mowing the lawn
2. Watching ESPN
3. Talking to your parents on the phone
4. Eating organic food
5. Working from home
The point is, different things matter to each of us.
But, we MUST take an inventory. We have to intentionally take the time to understand what is most important to us and why. It is absolutely imperative that we don’t waste away our time when we truly have the opportunity to do the things that we care about most.
What we NEED to do
Nobody needs to spend 20 hours a week watching Netflix shows — yet people do it.
Nobody needs to spend 10 hours a week on Instagram consuming content — yet people do it.
Nobody needs to spend 2 hours a night in the kitchen cooking — yet people do it.
The point is, we need to be aware because it is far too easy to just do the things that maybe we don’t really want to do.
There are a number of things that reward us and a number of things that don’t.
I’d challenge you to take an inventory such as this at least once a month.
Things change a lot month over month — especially if you’re bettering yourself.
For example, here are a few things that have changed from the beginning of April to the beginning of May for me:
1. Moved to a new apartment
2. Invested $600 into the stock market
3. Finished my MBA studies
4. Completed my tax return
5. Started doing nightly workouts at home
6. Sold a number of things on eBay
None of those things happened in March. In March I was still living in West Palm Beach, FL, had $0 in the stock market, was pursuing my MBA, wasn’t finished with my tax return, wasn’t working out consistently, and had never sold on eBay.
“What does a person look like who learns to live one day at a time with a backdrop of eternity in view?” — Ravi…medium.com
So stay aware.
In the past 7 days, I’ve done a great number of things. Here are the five most important things that I did when I look back:
2. Moved to a new place
3. Worked hard at the office
4. Ate healthy and hydrated
5. Spent time in prayer and the Word
Honestly, I did many more things than those 5 but those are the most important when I look back.
Looking forward, I won’t be moving again this week of course since I just moved in so I will have that slot to spend on another thing instead.
Time comes and time goes.
But really, time just never stops.
No matter what we choose to do — or not do — time is continuing.
Because of that, it is that much important for each of us to remain aware of how our time is being spent.
“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” — Rick Warren
“We can have more of everything in this world, but we will never have more guaranteed time.” — Harrison Wendland
Time Moves Forward — And You Will Too
As you move forward this week and next, remain aware of what you are spending time on and what you are doing with what matters most.
Warren Buffett has been known to say that you should make a list of the 25 goals you have for your life. Next, he suggests choosing the 5 most important and writing them on another list. Then throw out the first list, you’ll never do those 20 things anyways.
Remain conscious of your actions. Keep going forward. Pursue greatness.