Thinking Strategically About the Things that Are Important to You

I read (or heard) this question somewhere once and it really stuck with me:

How much time do you spend strategically thinking about projects that are important to you?

A key part of that question is projects that are important to you. I suspect a lot of us spend a great deal of time thinking about things that aren’t all that important to us personally — at least not in the long run.

Things like what to have for dinner, what movie we’ll watch, when we’ll have time to get gas in the car, etc. Those kinds of things do need to be given some thought, but they’re not nearly as important as the things that really matter to us.

I mean, do you remember what you had for dinner 3 weeks ago Tuesday? I’m guessing not. The little things take care of themselves, regardless of how much time or energy we put into them.

But the truly important things? Not so much.

If time with your family is important to you, regularly plan out time to spend with them. Don’t try to “fit it in”. If starting a small business is important to you, set aside time each week to just think about where you want to be and to plan out what needs to be done to get there. Then get up an hour earlier every day and do the first thing on the list. And then the next thing. If paying off your house is important to you, actually sit down and map out how you will accomplish that goal, and then follow it.

Setting aside regularly time on a for strategic thinking helps you get to where you want to be. It keeps you focused and allows you to lay out the steps that will help you accomplish the things that are most important to you.


  • I agree. It’s pretty easy to let day to day tasks keep us from the big picture planning that we really need to do to be successful. I’m going to do some strategic planning for 2010 today!

  • great post. If losing weight is that important to me, I need to give it that extra hour by waking up earlier!

  • Kate, I think if I got up an extra hour earlier to lose weight I’d just eat more for breakfast. But it’d be a good time to work out, that’s for sure.

  • I think for me, having concrete plans on paper helps with anxiety as well as making it happen. :)

  • Ken

    Good point. If I really want to know what’s important tome..just look at my agenda or my checkbook. They usually tell the story. Your post is about being proactive with our time and priorities. Good…now when will I make time for that? :-)

  • Two good points here—

    First, define what is important to you. If its not important, consider not doing it, or devote a proportionate amount of time to it.

    Second, think about it. It goes back to a tried and true phrase I like to use–Plan your work and work your plan.

    Planning ahead of time can save you loads of time once the execurtion begins

    • David, I agree, and it’s surprising just how much time planning can save you in the end. Sometimes people think planning is just a waste of time (because they want to get to the doing, maybe?) but in reality if you plan thoroughly you end up spending less time than you would have otherwise overall.

  • It is funny how people get lost in the small little things, while forgetting the big picture :)

    I think people just get caught up in the daily routine and just forget. They forget to remember what matters to them until something big and unexpected happens in their life that makes the re-prioritize things.

    Maybe that is why making a list of important goals is important, maybe that is why setting some time apart just for yourself is important. Just maybe that would helps us remember the things that we forget :)


  • Tomas, that is so true. We do often forget to remember what matters to us until something big and unexpected happens in our lives that makes us re-prioritize things.