Don't major in the minors


Last week Seth Godin wrote a post about wearing a mismatched pair of shoes to a presentation and no one noticed (or cared).  I loved his quick little post (click here to read) because many days I fight to keep my head out of the trivial and focus on bigger ideas.  Do you ever struggle with spending too much time on things that ultimately don't matter?  Do you ever...

  • Clean out the in-box instead of thinking on the long term project?
  • Work the crowd, but fail to establish relationships with individuals?
  • Make "perfect" more important than done?
  • Stay current with the news without really understanding history?
  • Worry about your image while ignoring the substance of your character?

The habit of focusing on the little things is called "Majoring in the Minors."  The sign above is a perfect example of what can happen when we get too far away from the MAIN idea.  Sure, the sign has sharp edges, but the news about the bridge at the bottom deserves top billing. Although I laugh at the sign, many days I find myself  consumed by minor issues while major ones get ignored .

As a result, every Monday I make a practice of asking myself two key questions:

  • What needs my attention that no one else will think about?
  • Where are my actions either adding value (good) or irreplaceable (better)?

When I know the answer to those questions, it's easier to determine what's really REALLY important this week.  When I know what's important, I find it easier to decline some invitations, to cull projects from my list, and not feel as though I'm responsible for getting everything done.  Instead, I can focus on the major and get out of the business of the minor.

What keeps you focused on the major issues in your life?