I struggled in the past couple of months trying to find a better way to keep track of what I need to get done. My to do list keeps getting larger. Everything seems both urgent and important. For all of the reading I do, I have been exposed to priorities, goal setting, getting to why, and other words that talk of the importance of figuring out what is important. Surely, what I was reading should be the same for each person.
I would try it and find ten things that were important. I would deceive myself by describing what I was currently doing as important. My to do list never got smaller. It keeps growing in size.
Recently, I decided to try something. I named only THREE things that were important to me right now. While writing them with conviction (or myself alone) led to some new discoveries. I began to feel a commitment to completing the three that I chose. They feel achievable. There was great clarity around them in my mind as to their importance.
What is important does and will change depending on where you find yourself in your life. Next year things may be different. Ten years ago you may have had different responsibilities, younger children, more commitments, a different job, and an ill parent. What was important to you then may be radically different than what you choose as important today.
Since what is important now will change again in the next few years, we must work on the ones we have identified today with intention. With a sense of urgency. Not knowing if they will be achieved. Capturing the effort necessary to begin to gain momentum towards realizing what we set out to do.
More personal and different than music, what you define as being important today will be radically different than what the next person close to you chooses as important. It is hard for us to relate to this difference in what is important for each of us. Sometime we don’t understand. Other times, hearing what others feel is important confuses us. To be helpful to someone, we can become more effective with our words if we first take time to discover what important things are unique to our friend, colleague or family member.
Once discovered, my important three things melted my to do list to half its original size. It directly challenges perfection by leading me to not worry as much about things that are not important to do or fully complete at this time. It brought clarity to the few things that really needed my focus and attention.
Life becomes simpler now because I have a way to measure the next request or imposition. There is much less frustration when multiple requests appear. Slowly, there is a new rhythm to my life that feels aligned and achievable. Possible but not certain.
What is important is a valuable question to ask ourselves. Do not rush for an answer. Seek to be clear enough to single out the two or three things that will make you happy after the many hours of effort to achieve them. Leaving aside some things that help confirm that we can’t do everything.