Priorities & Pruning

Today, I realized I have a reputation for doing everything and just magically juggling it. I was talking with a classmate about some grades, and in our class, the majority of people did not get a passing grade in the first exam — I was one of three As. While we talked on the way to our cars, she said “Of course, you’ve just got time for everything and got it all together.” Although I’m flattered, that’s not how it really is; I simply know how to set priorities!

I have the exact same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that everyone else does. I also need time to sleep, eat, and rest, so that is still a thing. The difference is that instead of trying to make time for everything, I only do things I have time for.

Have you ever watched someone cut branches off of a fruit tree? It seems a little weird at first because the tree has grown, and that’s good, right? The problem is that sometimes, trees grow a little larger than they can healthily support, and it starts to stunt the tree’s ability to grow and produce good fruit. When the tree does overgrow, a good caretaker will remove those less productive or dead branches so that the tree can prosper. In the same way, sometimes our worlds expand in beautiful, exciting ways, but sometimes there are too many opportunities to pursue with vigor.

Today, I left an amazing team because I just do not have time for it. It was taking hours a week and at least one weekend a month from my schoolwork, my business, and my family, and it was not contributing enough to my life to justify that expense. It was a hard choice, but something had to go, because I was working way too much and spending way to little time with my family.

I make clear priorities and goals for my life, and when something doesn’t align with them — even when it is good — I leave so that I can focus on what is really important to me. That is why I can have it all planned out and, for the most part, together. I don’t do everything, I do what I consider important and valuable, and I do it with all my might.

What are your goals? Do most of your day-to-day choices help you achieve them, or are they distracting you from what really matters?