“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
– Stephen Covey
How much time everyday do you spend doing things that are unfulfilling?
Here’s an exercise to try.
Make a list of everything you do throughout a normal day. The start of mine, for instance, would probably look something like this…
- Wake up
- Take Andie to school
- Get coffee
Don’t forget some of the little things you do with your gap minutes!
- Scroll through Facebook
- Play video games
- Watch TV
Once you’ve got a list, ask “Why?” for each of those items. That is: Why do you do it? What about it is important to you? Why is that something you invest time in every day?
So much of our lives are lived on default — we start a career, have kids, and build a routine. But we rarely stop to ask ourselves if the things we’re doing actually matter to us.
And the sunk cost fallacy keeps us nailed to the same routine, day-in and day-out. That’s not a bad thing if the routine is jam-packed with things that fulfill us and give us a sense of meaning. But otherwise, we might remain lost in a sea of monotony.
This exercise can be a real eye-opener.
With some of the items on your list, you might have a clear answer (i.e. I play with my kids because I love them), but for others you’ll be stumped.
Why do you have the job you have?
Why do you spend so much time watching TV or playing video games?
You might have a good answer for those ones, too… or you might not.
And if you find that you’re not able to provide good answers for some activities, that’s perfectly okay. This exercise isn’t about judging ourselves or feeling guilty about how we spend our time.
It’s about gaining clarity and understanding our motivations, which can ultimately lead us to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
After all, our time is the most valuable asset we have. We should invest it wisely, in the things that truly matter to us.