Lots of people maintain daily, weekly or monthly to-do lists. These lists typically jumble together 3 types of tasks:
Maintain my life: Day-to-day operational stuff to keep life going. These tasks are the consequences that flow from the sum of all the decisions I’ve made in the past. The more I possess, the more it possesses me. When you’re up to your _____ in alligators, it’s hard to think about draining the swamp.
Change my life: New projects that will change my conditions or lifestyle. These tasks implement the new alternatives that I’ve committed to in recent decisions.
Change myself: Grow new talents, skills and capabilities that increase my effectiveness
Modern life is hectic; most of us are overcommitted because we have too much “stuff” (#1) and have launched too many projects (#2). As a result, investments in ourselves (#3) usually take a back seat to the more pressing concerns. It’s easy to procrastinate and delay investments in learning because their payoff is always somewhere in the future.
Here’s a trick to counter your natural tendencies. Separate your to-do lists (types 1 and 2) from your to-learn list (type 3). Make sure that you reserve 5% of your time each week for the to-learn activities. Start today to take advantage of the “compound interest” effect of enriching your capabilities continuously. Keep growing!