I suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO) which leads me to say “YES” to more things than I can handle. Most of the things I say yes to are worthwhile and even enjoyable but recently I have been looking at the cost they incur on the most important relationships in my life; my family. I have never really suffered with paralysis by analysis (although I always struggled with choosing the right movie at blockbuster). My issue was living life reactively, having minimal specific goals and consequently no filter for which to screen new opportunities and possibilities through. My plan was to just say YES until my schedule is fuller than a plate at a buffet while I neglect the things that truly matter.
I was a prisoner of my own choices.
Ask anyone to list their top 5 priorities and you’ll get the same 5-7 responses ( Partner, kids, work, God, friends, health, service to others…blah blah) because that is what we are supposed to say. Look at how we spend our time and the pie chart is 60% work, 30% social media and 10% shoving food in our faces across from our loved ones. Long story short, where we spend our time and money is where our heart is and I was fed up with the momentary choices that deducted from my available resources. But for me, I needed to create an environment that funneled me towards a life of deliberate intention rather than rely on will power and choice.
Steps that I took to limit my imprisonment of choice included http://offtime.co/ on my phone and laptop, to-do lists with ranking of tasks, accountability meetings with my staff, weekly dates with my wife scheduled 2 at a time and pre-determined goals that are made public so I can’t back out without the shame of failure. Through this re-structured environment I have found freedom to pursue only the activities on my list (Be, Do, Have and Go broken down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly timelines). Sticking to this list allows me to grow deeper in those activities rather than take on more, albeit less, significant activities.
The single most impactful action I have taken has been to stop saying “Yes” to anything that I can’t enthusiastically say yes to. I say “no” when I used to say “maybe” because let’s be honest, it was always going to be a no or a reluctant yes anyway. I follow the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to guide my goals/tasks for the week so I can again, achieve my freedom from worry, stress and constraint by staying on course.
If it is on the list, I WILL do it. Not on the list and it might as well be dead to me. The full article can be found here (https://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/10/23/eisenhower-decision-matrix/) and comes highly recommended. Not all priorities are weighted equally so they must not be treated as such.
We are given a spirit of love and a sound mind so we have no business watching 5 hours of watching tv a day (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/business/media/nielsen-survey-media-viewing.html) while the things we say that matter get the bare minimum investment from us. Hopefully my post will inspire you to establish what freedom would look like to you and start making decisions that preserve that goal from any threats, foreign and domestic.
Cliché I know but, in a world where anything you want is a click away, I find it redeeming to choose fasting for the first 8 hours I am awake. I choose disciple over hunger and in some small way, strengthen my ability to withstand primitive cravings for foods that are inconsistent with my health goals.
Matisyahu, a Rabbi by trade, spits fire in this simple message about the life that awaits us if we simply choose to stop fighting. Liberation starts with our intention to love.
I’ve become a big fan of the 1 breath meditation movement and use it as my prayer anchor when I feel myself overwhelmed or entering territory where I am no longer the captain of my ship. Basically, many times a day I will breath in, repeat a simple prayer and find my feet again. Ongoing intimacy with our creator is more valuable to me than 1 dedicated time in the am/pm.
6am. I have so much I want to learn, be, and do that it must be done at 6am or my personal development comes at the detriment of my family time which I am increasingly coveting. A good day means I hit 3/5 of these before I leave for work; Read, do my prehab, sprint at the park, X number of pullups, cold shower. A great day is all 5.