…but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
I recently gave a presentation on time management. Let’s be real, time can’t be managed. Since it’s a linear thing, you can’t add or subtract to it. You can, however, manage your priorities. As I was talking about the concept of how to manage priorities, it dawned on me that I’ve done some of the things that keep me back from fully pursuing priorities.
Maybe you would recognize yourself in some of these delay tactics in the pursuit of priorities:
- You don’t submit the report because the format isn’t “pretty,” even though the data is the same. (Perfectionism)
- You avoid taking the big step because it’s just that—a really big step. You determine you have to know everything about everything before you do the thing. (Fear)
- You want to do it right, and sometimes that is at the sacrifice of doing the right thing. (Legalism)
- You don’t want to delegate the project quite yet. Well, at least not until you’ve been able to write down the steps and make it easy for the next person to do without coming back to you. (Control)
- You’re tired. Bone tired. But the applause for accomplishments keeps you on an unsustainable pace. (People-pleasing tendencies)
- You can’t let go of that thing. It has to be done by you because you are the only one who knows how to do it. (Pride)
Many more reasons exist, and I’m sure you could think of a few as well that hold you back. Jon Acuff found that most delay because it has to be “perfect.” We can’t manage our priorities because of the high standard we set for ourselves. Michael Hyatt says, “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.” Let’s be real, sometimes we get caught up in the thought of “ready…aim…aim….aim…aim…” and never fire. I know for me, it’s because I’ve set up an impossible standard or have to make it perfect. I’ve made up my own rules and added onto the project things that are nice, but not necessary.
Today’s verse speaks about how Eve had added in her own rules. Or perhaps she was misinformed. In either case, Adam and Eve could have touched the tree (see Genesis 2:16-17). Perhaps she was protecting herself from sinning and making it her rule to not touch the tree. Yet, the serpent picked up on Eve’s addition and got her jumbled up by tossing in his own standards.
When you are in a moment of not moving forward—of not managing your priorities well—is there an added rule or misinformation that is guiding your decision? Sometimes it’s those additions that get us into trouble and gets us managing priorities that aren’t ours to manage.
If you find yourself in a place of not managing your priorities, try the following:
- Be in prayer.
- Release the added rule (something in parenthesis in the previous list above, perhaps. Fear, control, legalism, etc. can all be additions we put on ourselves to protect ourselves, but in reality, we are actually confusing ourselves).
- Get clear—really clear—on what to let go of. I heard from a colleague recently that change involves letting go and perhaps even grieving. That allows room for something new, something better, to show up. Isaiah 1:16-17 says “…stop doing wrong. Learn to do right.” There is a replacement that must occur—letting go of one thing to make room for the best.
Perhaps you can think of other ways to release the “rules” we place on ourselves when our priorities are out of whack. What’s your way to let it go so you can better manage your priorities? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks
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© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.
I think at one time or another, I’ve done all of the above. It helps to recognize things for what they are.
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You might agree that sometimes it’s easier said than done! I like that you pointed out that sometimes it’s appropriate to “recognize things for what they are.” Wise words!
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Mollie hinted at but did not specifically mention “critical path”. I found it easier to look at a project chart and determine the critical path to success. That helped me to concentrate on the activities required to meet the schedule.
When I was in management, I also tried very hard to “get the monkey off of my back”. If it didn’t belong in my department or I could delegate it to the right person within my department, that monkey was gone.
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I have a stuffed monkey on my desk to remind me of that great lesson! You can read more about the concept of the monkey here: https://molliebond.org/tag/monkey-management/
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