“Concentrate on your goals. Do not allow other thoughts to enter your mind. If you allow them to, other things could take your concentration away from your ultimate aim.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
One of our realities is that we, unfortunately, experience distractors and time-wasters daily that negatively affect our ability to achieve our private and work-related goals as quickly as possible. We have a choice to either make the excuse of entertaining these experiences or, wherever possible, take charge of the situation and stay focused on achieving our goals. We can either let these distractors and time-wasters manage us or we can manage them.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
“Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.” – Victor Hugo
We cannot be successful at achieving the big things, which is included in our Personal Goals Scorecard if we allow ourselves to be distracted by the small things in our lives. The small stuff is only distractors that take our focus off the important stuff. If you are to be successful in your self-leadership story, you need laser-focus to achieve your goals. You cannot allow yourself to be distracted.
When I come across small, menial activities, I ask myself: “What would the consequence be if I left them for later, or just don’t do them at all?” The answer is usually: “None.” So, why worry about them? Perhaps I could delegate those tasks, or leave them for later, or not do them at all, while I focus on my goals and the important things in my life.
“Only do what only you can do.” – Andy Stanley
This is an extremely powerful quote because it strikes at the heart of avoiding time-wasters and distractors. It boils down to the fact that we must only focus on the dealmaker or dealbreaker areas in our lives, both privately and professionally. We should, if possible and if we are in a position to do so, then delegate the rest of the tasks on our list to other people.
There are two other prerequisites to making this hugely effective concept work:
1 . We need to find people to whom we can entrust this responsibility because ultimately, we are using them as an extension of ourselves to tackle our tasks.
- We have to be willing to let go. If we are not willing to let go, at some point, we will get stuck.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway
During the process of delegating you are not only focusing on the important things, but you are also allowing someone else to operate on a different level and to learn from the experience.
It is acceptable to say: “No!”
I realised at some point that, as part of taking charge of my life, I needed to view my time as my asset – just like my car or my house. In fact, it is more important than any other asset that I own. My time is my time, and nobody else should use my time without my consent. If someone wants to use my car or my house, then I need to permit this first. The same principle should apply, too, if someone wants to claim some of my precious time.
“It’s only by saying ‘NO’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs
If someone asks us to do something, it is absolutely fine to say: “No”. Of course, we can do this politely, while quoting a reason. Is it selfish to sometimes do this? No. Is it selfish if I do this all of the time? Yes, probably. We also need to understand this concept when we are on the receiving end of someone who cannot give us some of their precious time at a certain juncture. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves, and how we spend our own time in reaching our personal goals.
The definition of insanity
Albert Einstein defined “insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This might sound senseless that we would even entertain something so stupid, but if we analyse our lives, we will see that all of us have done exactly that before, or are still doing it at times. Instead of pausing or analysing why the results of our actions do not conform to the required outcomes, we jump in again and hope that the results will be different the second time around. Talk about wasting time! The only way to stop wasting time in this regard is to adopt a different approach or to change our actions to get a different outcome, which aligns with what we wanted it to be in the first place. By doing this, we will achieve success and achieve our personal goals faster in all areas of our lives.
What is occupying your time?
Check whether you are not busy wasting time or becoming distracted. Ask yourself the question: “Are the things that are occupying my time adding value to my life and supporting my personal goals?” If the answer is: “No,” then you probably want to think carefully about continuing with these activities.
Hekkie van der Westhuizen, PhD
“If you are interested in the topic of Self-Leadership, please look out for my exciting new Self-Leadership book, launching in August 2021”