Throughout this series, we have been walking through identifying your primary purpose in this life and clearing out the tasks you take on throughout a given day, week, month, or even year. It is only through eliminating and delegating less critical tasks that you can focus your energy on activities that move the needle on those key responsibilities that make up the bulk of your job description here on earth.
Although we walked through that exercise once, it is important that you continue to review your activities on a regular basis. “Delegate” items will slowly creep back onto your plate, and too many “eliminate” items will find their way back into your day. By continuously reviewing your tasks as you find yourself doing them, you will be more likely to keep the “extracurriculars” to a minimum.
Now that you have your list of key responsibilities and tasks in the keep pile, we need to go back and align the two. Remember in elementary school when we played the matching game on worksheets? We would draw lines connecting the items or words that go together. I would actually really love to do it that way, but it makes more sense to either write the “parent” responsibility next to the task or just grab another piece of paper and write them where they belong.
If “be a great mom” is one of your key responsibilities, write that down on the third piece of paper. Under it, write each task that supports that responsibility. Do this for all of your responsibilities and tasks.
You should begin to see a balance of activities across the responsibilities. Do you see any with few tasks or no tasks at all? This could indicate that you aren’t actually doing anything currently to move the needle on that responsibility. Now that may be okay. Perhaps you are in a season where you can’t quite get to that purpose, but you know that is one thing you are called to do. Just keep it in mind. Check-in every now and then to see if you are in a better place to begin moving the needle on that are.
If you find a huge pile of miscellaneous tasks with no leading responsibility, see if there are any commonalities. It could be that you missed an important responsibility that connects all of those tasks together. It could, though, mean you are doing a lot of good things that aren’t aligned with your true purpose on this earth. If that is the case, re-visit the previous post where we discuss categorizing your activities. Aligning with a critical responsibility is one of the three criteria for an item being considered a keeper.
Ideally, you should be spending most of your time on activities that align with the roles, responsibilities you have identified as most critical. If you find that you are engaging in auxiliary activities that aren’t moving the needle on your purpose, then your priorities are likely out of balance. Although you may accomplish a number of important activities or do good things for others, you may be missing the most important roles you have been called to play. When it comes to your performance review, you will realize that you spent too much time focusing on what was important to someone else at the cost of what was most important to you.
If supporting others in the fulfillment of their dreams is a significant role that you feel you will be held accountable for, then slot those activities under that responsibility and recognize what you are doing when engaging in them. Do not let this be a “catch-all” though. It can be a slippery slope that leads you to spend all of your time helping others and not accomplishing your purpose.
Now, what about those “delegate” items? Many of them you still need to do, and others simply must get done. Once you have slotted the “keep” items, go through those you have delegated and see where they fall. You are likely to have more in buckets of responsibilities that you did not initially circle as most critical in the initial activity in Part 2. That’s okay. That is likely why these items were marked to delegate. Just because a responsibility isn’t critical for you or critical for you right now does not mean the work magically disappears. The goal is to delegate those items. In the meantime, you may find yourself having to do them.
This entire exercise is about increasing awareness and changing the way we think about our work, daily activities, and purpose. This will be a continually evolving process. What is critical today may not be critical tomorrow. The goal is to eventually move toward engaging primarily in activities aligned with our purpose. This way, we can be confident that we are focusing our energy where we need to and not spinning our wheels on things that won’t make a difference in the end. When your activities and responsibilities are aligned, you have a greater sense of peace, purpose, and engagement. By releasing the distractions in your life, you can spend your energy on the areas that align with your purpose, and that is a great place to be!