50 Lessons for Lawyers

Lesson 8. Focus on doing the right things.

December 5, 2019

Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.
– Cameron Crowe

Your ability to create powerful habits and use them to focus your attention on doing the right things will make a tremendous impact on your life. Throughout the day you’re faced with choices about how to spend your time. The choices you make in each moment will either move you toward your goals or get in your way. They will either increase your sense of control and decrease your stress, or they won’t. The choices you make each day about how you spend your time are creating your future. Right now.

In his book Goals! How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, [8:1] Brian Tracy shares what he describes as the most important question of all when it comes to time management: “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?” I love this question. It forces you to evaluate what you’re doing in the moment. It forces you to focus and prioritize.

But I’d suggest tweaking it just a bit. Instead of asking, “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?” ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now part of my plan and moving me toward my goals?” This question gets you in the habit of evaluating what you’re doing on two levels – your plan for the day or week, and your longer-term goals. It will keep you on track and moving in the right direction.

The issue isn’t whether we get knocked off track. We all get knocked off track. The issue is how quickly we get back on track. A plane flying from New York to Los Angeles will be off track over 90 percent of the time! The pilots (or onboard computers) constantly check the plane’s instruments and make course corrections that ultimately get them – and their passengers – to their destination. Think of the question – “Is what I’m doing right now part of my plan and moving me toward my goals?” – as your course correction during the day.

Living the Lesson

  • Get in the habit of asking yourself this question throughout the day: “Is what I’m doing right now part of my plan and moving me toward my goals?”
  • Write this question on a sticky note and put it on your computer monitor, or anywhere you can see it. Keep it in front of you all the time.
  • Ask the question, listen to the answer. Then, if necessary, make a course correction.

[8:1] Tracy, Brian (2010). Goals! How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.