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TM Article 4

Big Rock Planning

by Rajen Devadason

It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste time.

Henry Ford


We all want to accomplish great things with our lives.

That is why as each year draws to a close, many of us gear up for the New Year with myriad resolutions swirling through our cerebral synapses. It is part of our entrenched cycle of renewal.

But this practice of setting New Year Resolutions can backfire on us.

You see, many people start off early in life making these resolutions with a great deal of enthusiasm every January 1st.

But Procrastination, Apathy, Inertia and Nuisances, which form the easy-to-remember acrostic PAIN, cause us to dump most of our resolutions in our always-full wastepaper basket of shipwrecked dreams.

Every time that happens, we die a little bit inside because - surprise, surprise! - we've broken yet another promise to ourselves.

So, and be honest now, do you truly want the next set of New Year resolutions you make to be different?

Well, then I suggest you make a pact with yourself to make very, very, very few promises to yourself.

Then make it a point of honour with yourself to keep those few... at all costs.

How can you accomplish such a monumental task?

Well, without waiting for January 1st to roll around again, I urge you to begin exploring areas of possible self-improvement by doing one thing different OR differently every day.

If you do this, you will gradually ease yourself out of some long fossilised comfort zones you carved out for yourself over the decades.

As you begin to proactively move outside these realms of comfort that have served to keep you limited in some form or fashion, your personal effectiveness - as a person, a parent, a worker, a boss, an employee, or anything else - will shoot upward at the speed of light.

Before you embark upon this radical course of action, I suggest you learn and then implement this two-pronged strategy:

1. Acknowledge your tendency to want to clear away small things first before you begin on big things.

2. Do the exact opposite and force yourself to clear big things before starting on small ones.

Frankly, the best way to determine if something is a big or small thing in your life is to identify direct consequences.

For instance, there are no consequences to taking a nap you don't need or watching that fourth sitcom of the evening.

But there are megalithic consequences to going for a romantic dinner with your spouse or finishing that vital project at work.

The great Leonardo Da Vinci observed, "God sells us all things at the price of labour."

Personally, I don't believe that literally. After all, as each Christmas approaches, and as carols begin to fill the air and our shopping malls, we are constantly reminded of the free gift of love that God
gave us a long time ago in a humble stable in Bethlehem!

Nonetheless, Leonardo's observation contains a jewel of truth.

To accomplish anything of real worth, we must be willing to do the work.

But work for work's sake, meaning busy-ness and endless activity, is pointless.

There has to be a point to all this activity. There must be a method to our madness.

Sadly, that point is never stumbled upon by accident. It can only be recognised and realised when we make the difficult, disciplined proactive choice to ONLY work on those things that are of true value to us.

Every one of us is constantly bombarded by an endless flow of little nuisances that fill our working hours just as gravel and sand rapidly fill a big glass jar.

As we deal with these tiny irritants, we keep putting off working on important activities that can be likened to big, chunky rocks.

Several leaders in personal effectiveness, most notably Stephen Covey, have talked about the need to put the big rocks into the big glass 'jars' of our work days or work weeks.

Once we do that, there will still then be space to pour in some less important gravel and sand through the gaps, later.

But if we do it in reverse and keep the big, important rocks outside first, undone, as we deal with the gravel and sand, we will find that there is not enough space to fit everything in.

Our days are the same.

If we're not super-careful, all we'll do is fill our lives with insipid, pointless acts that add up to zilch!

Conversely, the good news is we don't really need for January 1st to roll around again before we put in place a well-considered strategy to inject new life into... our lives by focusing on the big rocks.

Only you can determine what the true big rocks of your life are.

Once you do so, then begin scheduling your days, weeks and months ahead with big and important activities first.

Then use whatever time is left over to finish whatever is necessary among the
niggling tasks.

You can never do it all, anyway. And  since, like me, you are a master procrastinator, there is a sensible way to turn that tendency to good use.

Brian Tracy talks about the need to procrastinate intelligently, meaning to consciously choose to delay starting work on the small, niggling tasks that have no, or at least low, future consequences on our lives.

So, I urge you to make it an immediate resolution to identify the things that are important in your life and immediately schedule time to work on them every single day in the coming month.

Try it. You'll be amazed at how much you accomplish in the next 30 days.

(For a lot more practical help on managing your time better, read my ebook UNSHACKLED! 7 Ways To Make Time For MY Dreams.)


© Rajen Devadason


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Rajen Devadason, CEO RD WealthCreation Sdn Bhd & RD Book Projects
349, Desa Rasah, Jalan Bayan 7, 70300 Seremban, NS, Malaysia
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