In my last post I noted that Purpose and Values are the foundation of time management. Without them, people efficiently do the wrong things. However, understanding purpose and values is not enough. The next two ingredients to effective time management are Roles and Priorities.
The truth is that my life purpose and my core values will only be fully realized if I’m investing my time in roles that facilitate their fulfillment. In other words, WHERE I serve (my roles) and what I DO in those roles (my priorities) will determine how well I fulfill my life purpose. Knowing my purpose without have a major role through which I can fulfill it (regardless of whether its a volunteer or paid role), will only leave me frustrated. At some point my roles must be aligned with my purpose and values. Typically roles can fall into one of five areas–what I call C5 Roles:
- Church – Any serving role that is connected with a local church fellowship and is aligned with its vision.
- Community – Any serving role in the community, neighborhood, or home that makes a difference for others.
- Campus – Any serving role on a local school or college campus that makes a difference for the teachers, students, administration, or campus.
- Career – Using any career role or job intentionally to help others.
- Cause – Any serving role that promotes a cause in the world you are passionate about.
Once you secure a role, you must ensure that you’re spending your time on the top 3-5 priorities that are most important in that role. Doing the wrong things in the right role doesn’t get you very far. To help you determine which priorities deserve your greatest amount of time, John Maxwell offers seven helpful questions:
- What are you recognized for? (those areas in your roles that others say you do well)
- What is required of you? (those things in your job description)
- What are you requested for? (those things in your roles that others request you to do because they are strengths for you)
- What are you rewarded most highly for? (those things in your roles others reward you for because you do them so well)
- What produces the greatest results? (those things in your roles that have the highest return on your investment of time)
- What do you rejoice over? (those things in your roles that bring you the greatest personal satisfaction)
- What do you want to be remembered for? (those things in your roles you want others to remember you for long into the future)
These questions will stimulate you to create a narrow list of priorities that should be the focus of how you invest your time in each of your roles. Time management minus roles and priorities equals an unfocused life.
So let’s review–first, identify your purpose and values. Second choose a role(s) that is aligned with your purpose and values. Third, settle on your most important priorities in each role that will help you fulfill your purpose and live out your values. Are you seeing a pattern here? Rather than asking, “how can I get more done in less time?”, you’re tackling the biggest issues first and then aligning everything around them.