Jay Shirley

Striving to be a man of gallantry and taste

This Is My Life

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I struggle every day with the concept of importance. I list so many things that are important to me. Then I care for them in the exact opposite way.

I ignored writing an email for a week, even though the subject is very important. I finally did it. It took a little over 2 minutes. The corner of my office sat cluttered for weeks, even though I constantly talk about how much I appreciate maintaining an orderly work space (though it doesn’t come naturally).

I don’t think I’m a hypocrite. I’m just busy. Maybe. Maybe I am a hypocrite and using business an excuse. I do have lots to do, most of it is wrong. I spend my time doing unimportant but urgent things. These things that collect and keep me tied down.

This is my life, and I can choose.

I can think of at least 4 books on my Kindle that talk about this problem. I can think of countless more apps that promise to allow me to get more things done. They’re not the right things, though. I need to do the important things.

To do the important things, I must feel free to ignore the unimportant. I can’t feel guilty. This is my life, the only one I get to live. I’m genuinely happy now, but I’ll be happier to feel completely free to focus on what I choose.

The other day someone told a group I was in to focus on what comes easy, to delegate the hard stuff. This is a hard lesson to learn. I can write code all day long. I can tinker and study. Ask me to balance numbers, create graphs or even sit down and have an emotional conversation? No thanks. But I still try, then struggle and ultimately fail. More over, I don’t write code that is more important!

Listing what’s important.

I recently read 18 Minutes. The suggestion is to list 5 areas of focus and spend 95% of your time there. That’s a good framework, and this post is building up to my 5 things.

  1. Advance my public presence, primarily through writing and speaking.
  2. Pursue social and behavioral knowledge.
  3. Build a sustainable and growing business.
  4. Enrich my relationships with family and friends.
  5. Maintain good health.

Rather than follow his model of devoting 95% of my time in these categories, I’m going to devote my focus. If I get done, I want to be free to spend time on leisure activities. However, I must fill my days with enough items to make observable progress in those goals. If I have remarkably productive days I want to feel free to spend more time relaxing.

After all, I’m human and here to be happy. Progress makes me happy, but all the happiness in the world may not always be fun.