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  • What matters most?

    “Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.” – Thomas S. Monson

    I’m struggling with this right now- our days are filling themselves up quickly, but I’m not sure they’re filled with those things that matter most.  How do you determine what matters most to you? How do you keep those things at the forefront of your days while still keeping dishes washed and floors clean? (Unless, of course, clean dishes and floors are the things that matter most to you. It’s possible.) How do you find the balance between the urgent and the important, in real, practical terms?

    4 Responses to “What matters most?”

    1. Brandy says:

      I’ve been dealing with this a lot recently as I slowly (oh so slowly) mend from my concussion…as Joey said the other day, “What matters is that you get better.” Having that perspective helps (a little) with the fact that my house is messy and I can’t lift anything heavy…

    2. Carolyn says:

      Maybe the balance should not be between what is urgent and what is important. Maybe it should be between what is urgent and important vs. what is not urgent but important.

      If you can keep some kind of basic order most of the time, it helps you have time for the things which are important in more lasting ways. You spend less time frantically looking for stuff, etc. So, keeping basic order becomes “important” if you think about it for a while. Just like taking time for sleep, fitness and restorative recreation. These are all things which can be considered “important but not urgent”. Along with “refilling the well” spiritually and deepening relationships.

      In emergencies or during illness, we can let go of the routine for a while if we need to. There’s “important” and “more important”.

      Covey would suggest “stealing” time from activities that are truly not important, whether or not they are urgent: many TV shows, interruptions by telephone, electronic distractions, too much attention to fussy details, too many “things” in our lives, etc. The hard part is to make time for activities that are important but not urgent. Those include most activities of lasting value.

      You can chart your activities on a quadrant:

      Urgent and important Important but not urgent

      Urgent but not important Not urgent and not important

      You want to add more activities on your schedule in the upper right quadrant. Sometimes you may even need to cut back on “worthwhile” activities in order to have time for what is most important. Figuring out what is most important is a process which takes into account your values, your dreams, your spiritual direction and your current circumstances.

      The goal is to drop the things which are not important and to slowly reduce the frequency of “urgent and important” activities we must tend to by making our use of time more “proactive” – so emergencies are less frequent. Easier in business than with little kids. Infants especially just naturally need lots of attention. But that attention generally pays off later in a better-adjusted child who needs less help in solving problems. So it’s important.

      When the kids get a little older, you can start introducing them to the principles of stewardship, so that they will develop a deep understanding of and a positive attitude toward their responsibilities, and yours, in maintaining order around the house. For now, doing the best you can is about what you should expect from yourself.

    3. Carolyn says:

      Another complication is that what seems important to kids, especially little kids, is often not what seems important to us. And practically everything that seems important to little kids also seems urgent to them.

    4. Hilary says:

      I have to read my scriptures first thing (well, after I work out). The two things that seem to make my day go the “most right” I get-up early today. I can’t let myself get sidetracked by the internet or email, or looking at myself in the mirror. :)
      Anyway, you have to evaluate it more and more as your kids get older. mine’s only 9 and I still feel like I’m making tough decisions to keep us family-centered.