Weekly Thought – December 31, 2019
Fred prepared every New Year’s Eve for the next day… not by partying, or even stocking up on black-eyed peas. He got his paperwork in order to spend the next day doing his yearly personal audit. Establishing priorities constituted a large part of his analysis.
May your looking back over 2019 give you opportunities to praise the goodness of God. And may your hopes for 2020 be grounded in His faithfulness.
The Responsibility of Priorities
Andrew Carnegie once asked a consultant, “What can you do for me about time control?” The consultant said, “I’ll make one suggestion, and you send me a check for what you think its worth. Here is my suggestion: Write down on a piece of paper what you have to do in order of priority. Start with number one and complete it before you move on through the list.” Reportedly, Carnegie tried it for a few weeks and sent him a check for $10,000. That was big money in those days!
I constantly find people trying to accomplish their work as if they were eating dinner at a smorgasbord. They don’t prioritize, nor do they complete anything – they just graze. They don’t practice good time management. An executive asked me, “Fred, how in the world do you turn down people who want to play golf with you?” Honestly, that question never entered my mind. My time is as much mine as is my money. If I don’t let everybody else spend my money, I’m not going to let them spend my time.
For example, I was traveling with the president of a subsidiary company. Every time we stopped at an airport, or sat down for a minute he’d grab a great stack of magazines and begin reading. I asked, “Do you like to read?” His answer surprised me. “No, I hate to read.” “But every time I am with you, you spend the time reading. Why do you do that?” His answer: “The President of the parent company sends me these magazines.” I asked, “What would happen if you’d walk into his office and say, ‘Hey, Boss, you want me to make money or read magazines? I’m willing to do either one, but I can’t read all these magazines and do my job, too.’” I went on to speculate, I will guarantee the boss would laugh and say, “Throw those magazines in the waste basket. I sent them to you because I thought they were too current to throw away.”
A friend of mine works for a CEO who is influenced by book referrals from consultants. When the CEO returns from a conference he immediately issues memos requiring all direct reports to read the latest “hot title.” A man came in to see me who wrote a book and brought me a copy – a big, thick book. He said, “I’ll call you in a week and see what you think about my book. I don’t read books just because someone gives them to me. I only read what I am currently studying. Your book costs $10.90. Since I am a slow reader, it would take me two days to read it. That means I’d be making about $5.45 reading your book. I think my time is worth more than that.”
I have a right and responsibility to establish the priorities which will enable me to best use my God-given gifts.
This week think about: 1) How serious am I about my priorities? 2) Who needs encouragement in wise time management? 3) When am I most challenged to ignore my priorities?
Words of Wisdom: “My time is as much mine as is my money. If I don’t let everybody else spend my money, I’m not going to let them spend my time.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people.” (Colossians 3:23 NET Bible)