irst off, potential does not develop where there is no deliberate focus. Tony Robins says
“Where focus goes, energy follows”
This means that if you do not put development of your potential in focus, then it follows that years will go by while you are still convincing yourself that “someday” I will do it. [ictt-tweet-inline]The reason why planning is a critical part of our lives is that we have to balance eking out a living and leaving a legacy.[/ictt-tweet-inline] Legacies are never created arbitrarily. They are intentioned by God, but they are built by man. If we are not careful, we will spend the bulk of our time eking a living and never really focusing on maximizing our potential. Dr. Myles Munroe says is it beautifully:
“Your current job or assignment is a temporary classroom on your way to your God given destiny and purpose”
I couldn’t agree more! The problem that the above essence is not etched in our hearts of minds. We tend to think that we will be there forever, and so we do not plan. We also tend to think that once we have an assignment right now, it fills up our time and represents our God given mandate on earth.
Before we can discuss how you can organize your week, let me share a few principles that you should use in your weekly planning.
The greatest misconception we have out there is that “I need more time” in order to do something. I agree that at some level, there is just so much to do in a 24 hour period. However, I contend that this is not the “normal”. At times, we have projects that literally take away most of our time. Once deployed however, we get “our time” back. The way forward here is to allocate few minutes each day to develop a specific aspect of your talent, skill or gift.
This concept feeds on the bit by bit concept above. Now that you “do not have time”, the little time that you have allocated daily to developing your talent only comes to fruition to the degree that you choose to be massively consistent. Imagine if you set aside 20 minutes each day to develop a certain aspect of your potential, say “Public Speaking”, and did it consistently for 3 good years! Do you know how much time you would have carved out for yourself? We are talking about 2,520 Hours! Do you know how much they charge for a Public Speaking Course taken in 3 days? Go find out!
I have talked about this in length elsewhere on this blog. My definition of urgency means that you are faithful to the 20 minutes you allocated yourself above. It means that you set aside every single pursuit and distraction in order to get the best out of these 20 minutes. It also means that you are faithful not to extend this time by any minute. This is a critical principle to apply throughout your week.
This means that you have some things that must be on your daily calendar. It also means that whenever these things come up on your schedule, they MUST be fulfilled. They are dictated by what your focus in life is, and by the urgency that you have in developing them. My non negotiables for example are my spiritual pursuits and my mental development. Soon, I am adding my physical exercises to the list. I think living a life without these is a big mistake. It is an indicator of slave mentality.
We can be too modest at times. We need to learn to say no to things that are unscheduled that show up in our lives. Requests that just come out of the blue cannot be serviced, and that must be a law. Don’t we learn this principle when we are applying for a VISA to the US? And yet we live in such a way that we are so accommodative. Let people around you learn to honor and respect your time. You are trying to make the most of it.
Having said all that, I believe that maximizing potential is directly proportional to how best you plan your week. This is how.
Of the recent past, the message of the “5 Hour Rule” has nearly gone viral in the Personal Development space. Stellar visionaries such as Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have been touted to be using the 5 Hour Rule. What is it anyway? It is simply a period of one hour each day that they set aside to devote themselves to improve. This hour is not used for business but for personal reflection and growth.
This is where your weekly planning begins. I know it is a massive ask to tell you to craft this in your plan this “late” in your life. But this is it. If you are not having time for yourself, whom are you living for anyway? This will inform what time you wake up and what time you sleep. Chances are that you will need to sleep earlier in order to wake up earlier. Whatever you do, get your one hour daily. Actually, I advocate for 65 minutes a day.
There is a whole book (Actually a massively huge volume) written about this titled “Now Discover Your Gifts”. The thing is that a huge number of people do not need a book to know what they are gifted in. Your gift and talent easily stands out, and if you can say that you do not know what it is, now you have a goal to find out what it is. I guarantee you that this will be one of the biggest quests you can ever go on.
Select at most three aspects of your gift and talent that you seek to develop. Allocate time throughout the week for it first. This of course is in the assumption that you have already dedicated time for your “non negotiable” stuff. It is only after you have done these things that you should allocate time for your employer…of course he has already told you that you are giving him time between 8 and 5. I personally think that working past 5 Pm for your employer is not a smart move. I think it is shooting yourself in the foot. First, I think if you had the mentality of efficiency and effectiveness, and if you had your weekly timetable well written, you will rise to the occasion to beat massive deadlines. You will find the most efficient and harmonious ways to fulfill your tasks, because you are compelled by your vision and your timetable.
I will be fooling you to tell you that you will see the pay off out of this kind of planning in few months. This is a discipline that is supposed to take you years. In my calculation above, I used the minimum of 3 years. Potential is not like mushrooms that sprout in a day. It takes years of consistent and incessant action to fully develop your potential. So be at it.
Believe me, this is one of the most tedious things to do. You will need at least one and a half hours to plan. You will need a notebook, a pen, and a calendar (digital or otherwise). I love digital calendars because you can easily synchronize them to your various hand held gadgets, they are easily accessible and you can plan for repetitive activities. You can also send invites to the respective parties that you will be doing activities with. Finally, a digital calendar will always be popping up with reminders. It shows you how organized you are and helps you cement the aspect of urgency that I talked about.
If you will not be deliberate about your weekly time, you will not get time to plan for your future. You will not get time to excavate your potential because the world and its systems already have a plan for you…and it’s not all that good.