The Compass or The Clock
I am a sailor and I have studied navigation a fair bit. I like to sail reasonable distances and you learn to use both the clock and the compass. But which do you think is the most important? Actually both are important but it is the compass that sets the direction and it is the compass not the clock that gets me where I have chosen to go.
So when you plan a passage on a boat you choose your destination. And then to the best of your ability you take into account the things that can throw you off course the tide the wind the incoming weather and then you plot your course. Only someone very foolish would sail off not knowing where they are going but instead checking the clock every hour or day - making the most of time but not very sure where they want to be.
Ladies & gentlemen I can spend hours doing that for a few days voyage. The tragedy is many folks have never spent even one hour planning the destination of their life. So the clock rules their choices and actions and that produces huge hidden stress. The clock becomes an unseen controller an unseen master and that is stress.
Why? because our personalities are wired to want a destination they are wired to have a set of values that are important to us that if we could align our choices with them stress would be greatly reduced.
We can delude ourselves into believing we are making the best use of time but our hearts know we are headed in the wrong direction and that brings stress. Then sooner or later we must surely wake up to the fact that either the clock will govern and drive our lives or we make some decision about what is important to us in life and we set our lives by that compass heading & make some choices, & set some priorities that line up with those choices.
How can we do this? It's a lot simpler than you might think. A mentor of mine Jonathan helped me with this. He sat me down and asked me to spend time writing out my mission and values. Values are the things that are really important to me my family my faith my beliefs. Second he had me write my mission. What is it I want to achieve with my family, my workplace, my beliefs. I have these written down in detail. And then at some later point when meeting with Jonathan I shared with him what my choices were in each of those areas, and what my plan was and most significantly what my priorities were.
Every three months or so I check to make sure that I am still on course and take time to reflect, do these things still represent my compass heading, or do I want to change anything in the light of changed circumstances?