There is a tendency to react to the urgent instead of planning for what’s important. We let our inbox determine the flow of our day and spin our wheels putting out fires instead of making true progress toward things that are important to us. We are easily distracted, constantly derailed, and rarely productive.
This dilemma is not new. It’s something that we recognize, feel momentary conviction, then return to life as usual because it’s an easy cycle to fall back into. This pattern happens with all goals, but obviously, I’m most concerned with financial goals. So let me give you a tool to combat this unproductive cycle.
Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of “The Minimalists” wrote a post called “Someday” that I think is a great place to start. They urge you to write a list of “big ticket” items that you would like to accomplish someday—start a business, lose weight, pick up a new hobby, etc. Then flip that sheet of paper over and write another list of everything you have done in the past day.
If you’re like me, none the items on these two lists were related. Millburn and Nicodemus comment, “Sure, many of the items on this second list are necessary, or even urgent. But just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile; in fact, misguided urgency is often the enemy of progress.” We garner an undue amount of satisfaction from dealing with the urgent—like scratching an itch, but it doesn’t get us anywhere.
Important goals take a lot of time and patience. Millburn and Nicodemus further observe, “For most of us, someday is the single most dangerous word we utter: it grants us the illusion of future possibility without having to focus on that which is important today.” In other words, you give yourself credit for something you’ve never even tried to do.
So don’t fall into the lie of someday. Prioritize accomplishing small, incremental steps toward big goals, and let go of the “urgent” busyness that fills your day.
Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.