In the past few months, you have devoted your attention to something that, while being completely and entirely out of your control, required your attention. More so, he asked you to respond. If you are a leader, he may always ask for your time and attention, forcing you to make decisions without any conceptual framework or basis of experience from which to make them.
Reality doesn't care about your feelings, or your plans or goals. In this regard, the reality may seem quite rigid.
Stephen Covey once wrote that between the stimulus and the response, there is an opportunity to pause and consider your response. Up to now, the stimuli provided have required a response, without leaving the chance to take a break, a sure recipe for poorer decision-making. If a tiger chases you, you don't sit down and think about your choices; instead, you run like hell. When the tiger slows down, you can use the break to reconsider your options.
What controls your time
From time to time, external events will dominate your time. When there is a real emergency threatening you and the people and things you care about, your time is spent managing the crisis. Once you've done everything you can to eliminate the threat, you need to pivot to regain control of your time and focus.
Your unique, limited, non-renewable resource is time, which makes it the most precious product you will ever own. You never know how much you have or when you have run out of supplies. That being true, you must respect the time, the only strategy being not to lose it. When you decide to waste your time, spending more on things beyond your control than on things under your control, you fail to succeed.
When you have done everything you can to mitigate the damage created by external events beyond your control, you can no longer allow it to dominate what you do with your time. You have to go back to time management. You need to regain control of your time and focus.
Go back to your goals
You have probably abandoned your goals. You can get discouraged by the weeks, months and quarters lost. It is a mistake to abandon your goals due to external events, even if you are unlikely to achieve them.
There is a power that only objectives provide. Goals provide a goal and a time frame, creating both a sense of direction and a sense of urgency. Goals clarify what dominates your time and focus. Your goals are internal and pursuing them keeps you from letting things out of your control dominate your agenda.
You may have less weeks to reach your original goals, but removing those weeks from your year doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel, give up what you want. Instead, you need to reset, restart, and reimagine your goals during recovery.
What progress can you make with the time you have? How much lost ground can you recover?
Prioritize your priorities
There is no doubt that your priorities have changed during this crisis. Much of what you may have had to do forced you to ignore what was most important before external events asked you. Unless you still have something to do to deal with the crisis, it's time to get back to your priorities, the things that were – and probably still are – of crucial importance to you and your business and your customers' businesses.
When you are forced to live with a lot of uncertainty, you will find certainty and confidence by acting on your priorities. Shifting your time and attention to the things that are important to you gives you a sense of control. When you find yourself in a storm, sailing in rough and threatening waters, it's best to steer the ship in the direction you want to go, working against the forces that are moving you in the wrong direction.
The last thing you want to do is allow the external forces to make you drift. Refusing to drift requires that you establish and pursue your priorities, giving them your full attention and minimizing the time you spend on other things. Maybe you are late. You may have trouble progressing.
There is nothing to be gained by falling behind, and everything to be gained by making as much progress as possible on what is important to you now and in the future.
Who or what controls your time
The most successful people you will meet are intentional about how they spend their time. They don't let others dictate their timings, nor do they let outside events dominate their time, goals or priorities. They say no to almost everything as a way to make sure they keep the space they need to produce the results they want.
Either you control what you do with your time and focus, or someone or something else will decide for you, something that rarely leads to positive results. A crisis can be very consuming, mainly when the media work overtime to create fear, a sense of apprehension and the belief that there is still more you need to know, by working to focus on what is beyond your control.
You will have to work diligently to focus your attention and attention on what you want, avoiding focusing on what you don't want. You have the personal power to decide what you want, what is a priority, and what you do with your time and energy. Make good choices and do good work.
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