When The “Why” is Important Enough. the “How” is Easier

Have you ever wanted to scream, "Stop the world, I want to get off!"? If you feel that way, maybe you should — because if you’re racing to nowhere, you definitely need to step back and take a look at your priorities. Without the why in your life, the how becomes harder and harder. The solution is to determine where you want to spend your time in support of your plans.

What are you committed to changing in your life? These tips can help you decide.

1. Spend enough time with the people who are dear to you. Never take your loved ones for granted, because they may not be here tomorrow. Make time for them when none exists, and treasure every minute.

2. Volunteer in a way that feeds your spirit and makes a lasting contribution. Volunteering shouldn’t feel like work; it can be hard, but it should still be enjoyable. If what you’re doing isn’t, try something else.

3. Eliminate time-zapping addictions from your life. Stop watching so much TV, surfing the ‘Net, and playing video games all the time, and you’ll wonder where the heck all that extra time came from.

4. Limit your children’s activities to manageable levels. If you’re rushing from ballet class to soccer practice to piano lessons and can’t get a breath in edgewise, something’s wrong. Don’t overschedule your children; let them be kids.

5. Make your health a top priority. If you aren’t in good health, you won’t be able to do much — and your ability to help others will decline. Keep up with doctor and dentist appointments, stay hydrated, and stop smoking.

6. Exercise consistently. As few as 15 minutes of exercise a day can greatly improve your health and quality of life. It’s a cheap way to stay healthy, and it’s easier than you think if you do things you love.

7. Enjoy the way you spend most of your day. You can’t expect to be ecstatic about everything you have to do, but you should enjoy the majority of your time. Otherwise, life can seem empty and hollow — and what’s the point of that?

8. Practice healthy eating habits. Poor eating habits not only make you fat, they steal your precious energy. How can you use the time you have if you can’t get off the couch?

9. Get enough sleep. Sleeping well isn’t a luxury: it’s a necessity. Sacrificing sleep for any reason is counterproductive.

10. Make time to feed your intellect and continue your learning. All humans share the need to learn and grow.  If you want your brain to continue to serve you into your old age, you must keep it active. Be curious. Wonder. Stretch. Grow.

Moving fast without clear priorities can take a heavy toll on your career, your family, and your health. Learn to tune out all the background noise in your life and focus on what matters most, and you’ll find that the how becomes easier. Stop worrying about the quantity of work you’re producing, and focus instead on the quality of time you spend on it — and on the people who matter to you the most.

Contrary to popular belief, productivity is not about speed — and achievement is not about money.

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, professional speaker, and author who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training company in Denver, Colorado, that caters to high-stress industries. Laura’s newest productivity book, The Exhaustion Cure (Broadway Books), hits bookstores in May 2008.  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and MolsonCoors.  Contact her at www.TheProductivityPro.com