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“Have you ever noticed some people are able to stay organized while getting a massive quantity of work accomplished, while others appear to be busy but never actually produce results? Time management is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. We can have all of the best ideas in the world, but if we do not have a system to get our tasks completed, we will fail.” (Jeff Sheldon/UnSplash)

Thus began the article in The Globe and Mail titled, “Follow these six rules to accomplish more each day” (Clay Clark).  What could be a better topic in preparation for a New Year?  Six rules you say?  “That oughta be easy.”

But ask yourself the reason you want to “accomplish more.”  I suspect Rule 4 might help you with that:

Write your big ideas in a “dream catcher” book. You never know when you will have that once in a lifetime big idea that has the potential to change the way you do business or launch the creation of a new business. You should keep a “dream catcher book” or journal with you at all times so you can “catch” the idea the very moment that the thought comes to you. Writing ideas down will save you time when you are ready to launch your next business idea and enable you to move on to the next project instead of getting caught daydreaming the afternoon away.

I say this “might” help you; the article is firmly written with “business” in mind.  It presumes, without a lot of self reflection, that we are busy business-bots whose DNA is pre-deterministically set to “accomplish more.”  I suppose you can make the argument that “human advancement” is built on the back of this point of view. I would counter that some of the mess we are in ecologically and economically is based on the unchallenged notion that we can grow at an unsustainable pace. It is as if people consider the human race to be all about the race: the one who gets to the finish line first, wins. This makes all the rest of us losers.

Why do you want to accomplish more – or to put it another way – what is it you want to accomplish anyways?  With that in mind, consider Clay Clark’s Fifth Rule:

Be careful who mentors you. When someone starts to give you advice, look at the fruit they have in that area of their life before you blindly accept their opinions as truth. Who are you letting speak into your life about your business? Find a mentor who has been successful in the area you want to achieve more success in and listen to them. A mentor guiding you will save you from spending the majority of your time making mistakes and having to re-correct your course of action.”

This is actually, really good advice – especially the very first line: “be careful who mentors you.” First, it assumes that you are being mentored or are open to it. Not everyone is so fortunate, or so open to let a wiser person look and speak into one’s own life. Second, it speaks to being mindful of what you are after.

donald-trump-youre-firedWould you jump to be an apprentice to the Donald Trumps of the world?

Sure… he’s successful… I guess.  But do you really want to be mentored by him?  That is to say, do you really want to be like him?  What would you actually want to learn about life from “The Donald?”

Just be ready for this: there are (at least) Ten reasons you’re gonna be fired! If not by a Donald Trump, then by yourself when you exhaust your friendships, your emotional resources, or your reasons for doing what you do.

Why do you want to accomplish more – what is it you want to accomplish anyways?

This is actually the question you have to answer.  As you try to answer that, consider what Thomas Merton said:

Your life is shaped by the end you live for;

You are made in the image of what you desire.

What is the end you live for?  What is it that you desire?

Jesus put it like this:

My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. (John 4:34)

By the time Christ came to the end of His life, He could say to His Father:

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. (John 17:4)

Therefore, Hebrews 12 gives us an inside track to what we are after:

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus – the pioneer and perfecter of our faith – who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…

I would say there is a difference between throwing off all that hinders, and throwing out your emotions – as Clark’s Sixth Rule would suggest:

“Don’t let your emotions get in the way. It’s important not to allow your emotions to get in the way of your motions. To be successful in the workplace, you have to be able to set aside your emotions and to focus on the action steps you need to take… Don’t let your emotions get in the way of your business and slow down your progress.”

I would rather put it: “be mindful of your emotions, and do slow down your progress.” Listen to some wisdom from Proverbs 23:4, 5:

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.

Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

If you live in Canada, you are wealthy in many ways that most of the world can only dream of.  The problem we have – if we don’t think we are wealthy – is comparing ourselves to those who are even wealthier than we are (gasp)!  If you want to know what to do with your wealth – check out what the Proverbs have to say.

Meanwhile, I will point you back to learning the secret of contentment – and to answering the question that sets you in the right direction:

What is the end you live for? What is it that you desire?