Archives for posts with tag: Prioritization

[Note: This is the 3rd in  a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

A wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool from his friends. – Baltasar Gracian

The complete chapter title for week three is “The Values Choice…Choose the Right Enemies.”  In doing a bit more research on Mr. Gracian (quoted above) I came upon his collection of maxims Art of Worldy Wisdom. Skimming through this book I understood better why the author decided to select a quote from Gracian.

Gracian’s maxims speak of taking the high road, living with a strong value system,  leading a good life. keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

Values are defined as accepted principles or standards of an individual or group.  Do you know what your values are? Are there times when you have had to make decisions which conflict with your values?

Cottrell writes that knowing what your values are and living by them are different – and living by your values will eventually lead to enemies who share a different value system.

Here’s an example. I have a very strong family-first value set. This has often conflicted with some co-workers and managers who didn’t understand my decisions to not take assignments or even jobs that would require me to be away from my family for more time than I was comfortable with – whether it was travelling or long work hours.  These were uncomfortable discussions, but knowing I was living by my chosen values made me happier and more confident (and trust me everyone – more productive!)  Sure, I chose my enemies in a way, but that is the point of this week’s choice.

Cultivate those who can teach you – Balthasar Gracian


In Genesis, the Bible let us know that after getting things done, God rested on the seventh day.  In our busy lives, work and personal commitments rarely subside enough for us to rest, let alone focus on the not-so-critical stuff.  Here’s what David Allen had to say on a recent GTD Times post:

Every once in a while, schedule a day for the not-so-critical stuff. Otherwise the got-to’s can eat up your whole life, and the secondary things then become annoying got-to’s later on, or just create a frustration factor that mounts up.

David Allen

We might not get our full day of rest, but it makes sense to block out a 14th day or 21st day to knock out some of those lingering “Next Actions” that our eyes skip over, and over (and over.)

Sunday. 4 hours@Houston International Airport. What to do? Lots of options. Read the latest Stieg Larsson book “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” Listen to music. Read magazine. Walk aimlessly. Sleep. Browse aimlessly. Write blog post (not aimlessly, I think.)

We all have these blocks of time that appear in our lives like unscheduled layovers during our travels. They could be waiting for a doctor’s appointment, sitting in traffic, meetings that you shouldn’t be get the point. No matter where they occur, let’s call them “layovers.”

My challenge to you is figuring out the best way to spend your life layovers. I’m not suggesting you need to actively do anything. You could spend the time being mindful, meditating or sleeping. If we tie it back to GTD I can offer that if you have a good understanding of what there is to do (your trusted system) then it is much easier to make the choice that brings you the most value.

Side note: Quick observations watching those around me, here’s what I see:

  • Building blocks with baby
  • Reading book\magazine
  • Eating m&ms and people watching
  • Sleeping
  • Doing something on the mobile (didn’t want to be rude and ask)
  • iPod\iPad\iPhone – I can’t believe how many people have an iThing!
  • Applying makeup
  • Eating