Mission Math: 17/6 not 24/7

Your time is your life. If you don’t learn to get control of it, then you’ll fall short of your maximum possible impact. You’ll limit your legacy. If you want to do work that really matters, then learn to be intentional with your time. Effective leaders understand this.

Let’s start with some math, which I call Mission Math:

  • There are 168 hours in a week.
  • I need 6 hours of sleep a night. That’s 42 per week.
  • 168 – 42 = 126 hours remain.
  • 24 of those 126 are my Sabbath, a day of rest when I recharge my body and mind.
  • 126 – 24 = 102 hours and 6 days remain.
  • 102 / 6 = 17 hours / day.

In other words, I’ve been allotted 17 hours per day, 6 days a week to do work that really matters to accomplish my Mission in life. The question is, “What will I you with those 17 hours a day?” If I squander them, I’ve blown it.

I don’t need to work 24/7. That will produce burnout. I only need to work 17/6 in a meaningful way.

What will you do with those 17 hours a day?

You don’t have time for everything. Separate the essential from the trivial. Spend more time on essential things and less time on the trivial. You can’t eliminate the trivial, but you can mitigate them.

How do you discern the essential from the trivial? You need to learn to control your thinking and use your mind as the filter of discernment. As a filter removes impurities from what passes through it, your mind will remove the trivial, i.e. the impurities of your time. What remains will be the essential, i.e. the meaningful uses of your time.

If you’re not sure how to do that, then here’s an easy experiment. Take the little bit of meaningful time you have now and use it to serve other people, not yourself. Serve them in an unselfish way and then watch what happens.

Perhaps you’re saying, “I don’t have time to serve other people. I already don’t have enough time to do the things I need to do. How could I add anything else?

Let me tell you a secret about why you feel that way. God never meant for you to spend all your time on yourself. Why would He give your more time if you’re just going to serve your ego? Why would He give you more time if you’re not going to be a good steward of it?

Here’s a universal truth. If you need more meaningful time, then use what you have to serve other people out of kindness, generosity and love. Then watch God multiply it. The only way to experience this is to trim the trivial time from your days and weeks. Just as trimming a vine of dead branches produces more fruit-bearing branches, trimming your life of “empty” time will free up more space for the “multiplying effect”.

Our society teaches us to think only of ourselves. However, God wants us to think about others, not just yourself. One day, we’re going to be judged by God on how we spent our time, on how our decisions affected other people. Mature people limit their freedom for the benefit of others. Not because they’re afraid of what other’s think, but because they are motivated by love.

The most effective leaders understand it’s not all about them:

  • They make wise decisions with their time and possess a high-level of empathy. They effectively navigate difficult conversations on a daily basis and focus on building healthy relationships with everyone, even people they don’t like.
  • They understand people don’t quit teams, they quit their teammates. Ego and authority only serves to fracture teams, not unify them. Because-I-Said-So management style, a condescending attitude and a mean temper are symptoms of too much ego and authority.
  • They don’t take credit for victories, but take responsibility for defeats. They empower others, cheer them on and celebrate teams wins, but also have broad shoulders to carry the team through setbacks.

Do your Mission Math. It’s the key to leaving a legacy you were meant to leave and becoming a leader others want to follow.

Published by Marc Casciani

Bridging brothers & sisters to what's important. Author of Craft Your Calling. Host of the Neighborly Love podcast.

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