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February 19, 2020 – How do we spend our time?

“Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most.

Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.”

  1. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Things That Matter Most”, General Conference, October 2010

I used to think that busy = productive. Obviously, I grew up mentally. Just because we run around doing things, doesn’t mean we are doing things that matter. Sure, there are things that absolutely have to be done on a daily basis, but there are also things that we need to make a priority.

I learned about Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People while I was on my mission. There, I tailored those habits to missionary work. In those concepts, Dr. Covey explains a quadrant table. A table of things we do on a daily basis. On the left side, there’s Important things and Not Important things under it. Across the top, there’s Urgent and Not Urgent. Where those columns intersect the rows are where the things we do fall.

So, at the top left, are things that are Important and Urgent. These are things we have to do, like put out fires at work or resolve an issue with the sink. Then, still at the top, are Important but Not Urgent things. This is where most of the eternal things should reside. Focus on our relationship with our Father and Brother, for example.

Then, on the bottom, are Not Important things we do, whether Urgent or not. A few activities should fall into these categories, like phone calls, Instagram, or watching TV. It’s okay to do these things, but they should not outnumber the Important / Not Urgent things.

Bottom line is, we should put our focus on the top right quadrant. Most of our daily activities should focus on things that matter, i.e., strengthening testimonies, learning, gaining wisdom, establishing and strengthening relationships, spending quality time with people that matter most, etc.


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