This past week on Twitter, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite quotes on priorities and time management.  Important topics for every generation, priorities and time management seem to become more and more crucial every decade.
Today, in the age of the smartphone and social media, even technology has joined the fight for our most precious commodity: TIME.

A few decades ago, I came up with three critical questions on priorities. They still serve me well today, and I hope they’re valuable to you.

Before any decision on where to invest my time, this is what I ask myself:

  1. What is REQUIRED of me? Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what you must do. For you to be a good spouse or parent, what is required of you? To satisfy your employer, what must you do? If you lead others, then what must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else?
  2. What gives me the greatest RETURN? As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others. After determining requirements, focus on choices with a high return on investment (ROI).
  3. What gives me the greatest REWARD? If you do only what you must, along with what is effective, then you will probably be highly productive. But you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction.

Note: These questions are meant to be asked IN ORDER. Many of us would love to skip down to #3 and focus on the most rewarding/fun/exciting activities. But no one can be successful who doesn’t possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third.

The time that you have on this earth is precious – every minute of it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson advised, “Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”

~Adapted from Today Matters


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