I don’t have a great sense of direction, particularly when driving. I find it stressful to drive in locations I’m not familiar with, especially in rental cars that don’t come with a functioning GPS. The ability to hit the Locate Me symbol on Google Maps, see exactly where I am on the map, and then be guided to my destination fills me with calm and confidence. I’ve been thinking about how necessary it is to metaphorically hit the Locate Me button in our lives from time to time.
When working with my coaching clients, it seems that many of us are furiously working, going as fast as we can, trying to keep up with the pace, complexity, and volume of things coming at us, personally and professionally. It can seem overwhelming. When I ask clients what’s meaningful to them and what do they want most, often I’m met with silence or, at the very least, a generalized and somewhat vague answer. It can feel easier just to keep going rather than slowing down to do the work of intentionally choosing where we’re going and why. Time to hit the Locate Me button!
Knowing what matters most, and then focusing the majority of our time on those priorities, are what Peter Bregman recommends in his book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. Specifically, his advice is to choose our top five priorities and then spend 95% of our time focused on them. The remaining 5% is for all the other “stuff.” I know… 95%? That seems impossible. The way I look at it, though, it’s a worthy experiment, and even if I (you) can’t spend 95% of our time on those priorities every day, what could change with that kind of focus?
Here’s the process.
Deciding my top 5 priorities has given me a lot of clarity and a feeling of calm and confidence. I know where I am on the map, and where I’m going. I’m not going to stress about doing it perfectly, but rather focus on getting better as I go. How about you?
About the Author: Cindy Jackson is a founding partner of the pLink Coaching Center for Excellence. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband David and four furry family members.