Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Art of Smart Living

Why are some more successful than others? What makes the difference? How could we go about our life getting more of what we want?

Some people just get to where they want to go a lot faster than others. For some it's simply because they cheat on life itself. That's not what I'm talking about. The question is: How can I do what I do in a smarter way?

In 1995 I discovered a two-sided key that has been priceless to me...

In my opinion, some of the secret behind a happy life is the principle of a proactive lifestyle. Proactive meaning what? Most people view proactive as being "ahead of the game", but to me proactive means so much more. Consider this scenario that explains the dilemma we're all struggling with on a daily basis:

Picture yourself in a boat. Rowing is your main task, which eventually brings you to your destination. Oaring a steady course on the rippling water, you discover the boat is leaking. In fact, there are several holes causing the vessel to sink. Consequently, you hose water and then you row a little. Rowing and hosing works, but slow as it is, unstopping the hole would be smart. Also, every so often, you're forced to apply one of the oars to hit and fight off some Alligators circling around.

In Stephen Covey and Roger Merrill's book "First Things First" they present their findings in what is called "Time Management Matrix". What's the secret? Well, in relation to the above scenario, hosing water is important, but more pressing than anything is unstopping the hole(s). If you can organize yourself in such a way that you repair the leaks on a regular basis, the dividends on all the other key activities as a whole is phenomenal.

Therefore, the ongoing battle is "freeing up time to stop the leaks". That's secret part #1. Below are some examples of where you want to invest your time:
  • Delegate and educate others + clarify expectations
  • Build strong relationships with key people
  • Evaluate and implement that new learning
  • Establish systems and routines
  • Set long term and short term goals, write them down, communicate them
  • Plan yearly, monthly, weekly and daily
  • Sharpen the saw (renew your spirit, body, social and mental capacity)
  • Stay on top of information (organize regular and automatic updates)
Notice that secret part #2 is just as important, which is: "Most of the time you invest is found when you want to relax and usually tend to do less important things".

What's the difference then? Successful people are willing to give up less important things (often spare time) doing more of the above - unstopping the holes.

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