This is a fantastic quote from Stephen Covey, one of my favorites. It's said that Ronald Reagan kept this on a plaque on his desk.
Like many great ideas, it's simple, powerful and easily relatable. How many times have you let things slide because "life got in the way." We're all guilty of that mindset. Sometimes, life really *does* get in the way (death, sickness, family responsibilities) and sometimes it's just a lack of focus and we ignore the goals we've set for ourselves.
One thing I've found helpful is an Absolute Yes list. I keep mine by the phone and a copy next to the computer.
This is an amazingly easy rule and I urge you to try it. Right now, (while you're thinking of it!) get an index card and write down THREE priorities for this week or this month. It doesn't matter what they are. It could be something as simple as taking a 2 mile walk every day or as complex as organizing all the files in your home office.
The only caveat is that these three things are important to you. Well, actually there's another caveat. These three things have to take priority in your life at least for now. No matter what you're tempted to do (or others are tempting you to do), your answer has to be NO, unless it's on your Absolute Yes list.
Why do I have two copies of it? Because it's very easy to get distracted (on phone or computer) when someone asks me to do something. It might be something that takes an evening (filling in for a guest speaker at the local library) or takes a week-end (offering two workshops and appearing on a panel on a week-end long writers' conference.)
Certainly both requests are worthwhile endeavors and I'd probably enjoy them. But how do they fit into the scheme of things? I'm halfway through a Talk Radio mystery and the heat is on. I don't have a week-end to give away. I don't even have an evening, come to think of it. Because it's never "just an evening." It takes time to prepare a talk, get together handouts for the audience, get there, etc. Even a 45 minute talk can be a time sink.
So try this strategy and I bet you'll accomplish more and your goals will be attainable. Good luck!