What Blue Ribbon Are You After?

In a conversation with an young professional a few weeks ago, I marveled at his plan for moving up in the organization and building relationships that would assist him in making his climb to the proverbial top. As he finished I said, "All that sounds fantastic, but what do you want to accomplish outside of work?" His words were now spoken with much less confidence and assurance. He finally said, "I haven't taken the time to think about it, really. I figured I'd work that out as I went along."

I see a similar dilemma in training programs related to time management. When people start planning the following week, they do a masterful job determining what needs to happen at work, but often stare at the worksheet when planning time with family, friends or even themselves. They just hope that the events naturally happen-and they rarely do.

In the midst of your struggle to get the results you are looking for from your work and life today, ask yourself three simple questions:

  • What are some "blue ribbon results" I have put on hold while I work on other ones?
  • What are some consequences of not focusing more time and energy on them now?
  • Am I okay with these consequences or do I need to start making some changes in my daily routine?

Remember the Chinese proverb as you contemplate your answers:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.