My husband might not totally agree with this statement but here it goes: I am all about cutting the clutter out of my life. And it’s not just the physical clutter that I am looking to get rid of. Along with the excess clothing, repeat kitchen utensils, and knick-knacks that accumulate, decisions also clutter our lives. Take just a second here to think of how many decisions you make in a day. It’s a lot, right? Sometimes these decisions are easy, like how many times to tap the snooze button or what to grab for breakfast. But here’s the thing, most of the time there is A LOT of stress that surrounds our decisions. And if there is one thing I really want to eliminate from my life, it’s stress.
Last year was a season of my life where I was needing to make a lot of really big choices about how I was going to live my life. I was feeling spread thin with everything that I had taken on and overwhelmed with all of the decisions that were constantly flooding towards me. I was busy trying to do so many things but not doing any of them well. Has anyone else been here?
That’s when my dad gave me the best I’ve ever received. He told me: You need to start living according to your priorities.
And can I let you in on a secret? I think that’s the first time I ever really stopped to consider what my priorities even were. Sure, family was always important to me and I always wanted to do work I was passionate about. But I hadn’t ever connected those ideas to my daily decisions. They were just these ideals that I held but didn’t really practice. And once I took some time to really consider what was important to me and what made me happy, those big difficult and scary decisions that were keeping me up at night, became hardly even a thought because my heart knew the answers the whole time.
A bit later, I stumbled on the golfball analogy. I love this analogy because it reaffirms the way I have been making my decisions since that advice I received from my dad. In the golfball analogy, an empty jar represents your life and you fill the jar with golfballs until it is full. Then pebbles are added to fill in the space left by the golfballs. Lastly, sand fills in all of the spaces that are left. The golfballs represent the important things, your priorities. For me that’s my family and friends, my health, and my passions. The pebbles are also important things, like my car, computer, and home. The sand is everything else, all of the small stuff.
Filling an empty jar with objects may not seem like a revolutionary idea, but the magic happens when we realize that if we had filled the jar with the sand first, there wouldn’t have been room for the pebbles or golf balls. And there you have it, if we spent all of our energy and time on the small stuff then there wouldn't be time for the stuff that really matters to us.
For me, living out my priorities looks like taking the time to find healthy and yummy recipes and sitting down with my husband to enjoy the dinner I made. It looks like spending time reading every night so that I can continue to learn and be inspired. It looks like not taking the job with the nice pay check and benefits so that I can pursue what’s important to me. It looks like saying ‘no’ to a lot of things so that I can say ‘yes’ to the most important things. It looks like a lot of editing out what’s not important. Courtney Carver says it best when she says “To find out what matters, get rid of everything that doesn’t”. Maybe you already have your priorities locked down and you live them out every single day. But I suspect that, like me, you might need a little help rediscovering them.
If, like me, you are also struggling to do all of the things and feel like you actually aren’t doing any of them well, consider taking a peek at this free guide on 3 steps to start living according to your priorities.