That’s a powerful mantra for taking action and getting things done.
But it assumes a high level of certainty. My question is, what if you don’t know who you are yet? What if you’re still in the early stages of an uncertain endeavor? What if you’re so crazy busy and overwhelmed that you barely have time to eat lunch, much less develop a mechanism to sort out and prioritize your diverse demands?
That’s the missing piece of the popular time management canon. It’s hard to prioritize when you don’t know where your bread is buttered yet. That would be like trying to make a budget when you’re broke. There are too many unknowns. And that paralyzes you into inaction.
One tribe of people who deal with this daily are young entrepreneurs. Young meaning experience, not age. Because when launching a new enterprise from the ground up, every task and project and activity is yet another public bet with their imagination.
It’s like winking in the dark. Shouting into the ether. Whipping frisbees out the window. Throwing spaghetti against the brick wall. Dropping rose petals down the canyon and waiting for the echo. Tossing coins in the wishing well and hoping bills float to the surface.
Insert whatever melodramatic metaphor for ambiguity and fortuity suits you best.
The point is, when you’re new to the game, you’re just guessing. You have zero sense of proportion. You don’t know which rules to break, which corners to cut, which avenues to pursue and which lanes to avoid.
So you try everything. Because the notion of prioritizing feels like an unattainable luxury item. Hell, it took me several years to figure out exactly where my bread was buttered. And if I could go back and do it over again, I would have tried to identify that recipe earlier.
Because once you master your priorities, managing your time is irrelevant. You become constitutionally undistractable.
Instead of ignoring interruptions, you stop hearing them. And instead of warding off unproductive thoughts, you stop having them.
Bread and butter never tasted so good.
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If you could only work two hours a week, what which activities would you prioritize?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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