Leadership Essays: Build For Your Future is an article about investing in your future. To have a great future, you need to build on these various foundations today, namely: your education, your business, your skills and your relationships.
Stephen Covey, in his bestselling book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, spoke about distinguishing the nature of your daily tasks between important/unimportant and urgent/non-urgent.
The point he was ultimately trying to make is to major on the important things in your life and not the urgent and unimportant ones that take up your time daily.
In other words, don’t major on the minors; build for your future.
The ‘minor’ things in life take up the most of our time daily. It includes things like checking and reading unnecessary emails, updating Facebook statuses, watching YouTube videos, attending pointless meetings and so on.
These things do not propel our lives forward.
Yes, hitting a ‘like’ button does not make you a better person; neither does sharing pictures on Facebook make you a philanthropist.
I know that’s obvious to us, but yet how many of us still spend hours upon hours on these time sinks daily?
YouTube doesn’t help either.
When we used the TV, we could miss episodes of our favorite soap operas or reality TV shows and got on with life. But now with YouTube and video streaming websites, we don’t have to miss a SINGLE episode.
Imagine the time you could have saved if you didn’t do any of these.
And the meetings are the energy drainers. We spend so much of our day in meetings that our presence is not really necessary, but we sit there faking attentiveness and taking notes as if it would matter at all if we didn’t Before we know it, the day is over.
If we really work it out, my guess is that the time we waste daily would be up to 80%.
With so much time spent on minor things, you wonder what time is left that is actually used on major things in our lives.
These are hours that could have been spend building important relationships, building foundations for long term goals, mastering a skill or a discipline. These are hours invested to build a great future.
If you spend 5 hours a day on frivolous and unimportant activities; in a year you would have lost 1,825 hours.
And in 10 years, it would be 18,250 hours of time disappeared into oblivion!
Think about all the things you could have done with that amount of time in 10 years. You could have mastered the piano, made a million bucks in the stock market, build a business that is changing lives, grown much closer to your family and so much more!
My suggestion for you is to do an “important” to do list. In this list, don’t put the normal urgent things you have to do at work, but rather put things you must do that invest into a better future. It could be things like:
1. Read a book or watch an educational video. Education increases your knowledge base, and your knowledge base helps you become wiser and more creative.
Although it seems insignificant at the start, but if education becomes a habit in your life, you’ll find that you will progress much in your life over time.
You’ll become much more effective and have a broader understanding of the world.
2. Build your business. If you own a business, spend time working ON it, not IN it. Spend time planning for the future and directing your staff.
Spend time thinking about how you can move the business forward and take it to the next level.
If you are an employee, spend time thinking about how you can make yourself more effective on the job and do it.
Many people spend too much time working IN their business or their jobs and never really progress forward.
3. Practice a skill or discipline. Write, play the piano, practice your sport. Whatever you are trying to master, spend time each day becoming better at it by practice.
A mastered skill or discipline can make you valuable wherever you go, across borders, communities and cultures.
4. Build an important relationship. Relationships are the source of your greatest joy and sorrow.
A bad relationship with your spouse, children, parents can make you a very unhappy person. So spend some time each day investing in those relationships that are important for you.
It could be to spend some quality time on a night out or just simply a phone call.
Before you think that these things are a waste of time, remember that these are the people that will be with you throughout most of your life.
Building for the future is like laying the foundation of a building, brick by brick, day by day.
It seems very insignificant if you look at a day’s work, but over a period of time, you will see that it yields tremendous rewards.
When you finally reap the rewards of your building, you’ll realize that all the time invested in it was worthwhile after all.
So create your “Important” To Do list today. I do suggest keeping it somewhere handy like your hand phone so that you will not quickly forget it when you get busy with frivolous activities.