“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. (Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
During the initial years of our marriage, when Cheri would drag me to the mall, I felt like Alice. As I’d trail behind my new bride from store to store and rack to rack, I looked and felt lost. With every new department of clothing, shoes, or perfume that we’d explore, I received the same welcome, “can I help you?” I’d usually respond that I’ve lost my wife, and since finding her resulted in zero earnings, I was left alone.
During those same years as I was forging a career, I was part of the Day Planner crowd and would make lists and schedule appointments. Doing so felt productive and I was busy. Very busy, like a badge of accomplishment. It took some time to discover that being busy is not the same as being productive and having a full calendar did not translate into wealth or success.
The two items missing in the Day Planner craze were purpose and priority. I’m third generation of “being busy” as an identity and can accurately witness, there is no productivity, growth, or happiness in being busy.
Living with a purpose gives me a direction. Living with a priority provides me action steps. Purpose and priority put me on the right track with the right purpose. One can be on the right track but if they are not going anywhere, they’ll be run over.
“Purpose without priority is powerless. When your life is on purpose, living by priority takes precedence.” ~Gary Keller
When you travel somewhere on purpose, what you do on the roadway becomes a priority. If I want to run a marathon, my mornings have a purpose. I’m up at 0 dark thirty, and I have 5 miles under my belt before the neighborhood is moving. Therefore, going to bed on time the night before is a priority.
If I want to lose 20 lbs. I preplan tomorrow’s meals in the now. Goal-setting to the now emphasizes my priority and I live in the moment. It is the deciding factor in my present and future self.
Shopping with my bride was an exercise in futility, for both parties. With time, I replaced my aimless wandering with a purpose and a priority. Since shopping at the mall with Cheri had no purpose for me, and it didn’t exist on my priority list, I replaced it with appropriate activities.
I didn’t need to shop with my wife to prove my love, or better said, to satisfy her codependency. Thankfully, she didn’t come into our marriage with that pre-existing condition. She didn’t need a false triad of affirmation, affection, and approval to get through the day. We discovered more mutually beneficial and productive ways to deepen our mutual trust & respect (love).
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. ~Alan Lakein
When you are ready to escape being “busy” and discover being productive, prioritize 30-minutes of time and explore your purpose.