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Start with what's important

‘I’ll do it later’

How many times a day do you say this to yourself? And how many times does that thing you’ve been putting off get done?

This morning, I didn’t want to get up. The bed was warm. It was far easier to stay safe in bed than get up and do the thing that was on my mind. Go for a run. I was tossling with ‘shoulds’, and internal trade offs, and telling myself ‘I’ll do it later’. But I know me, and I know the internal battle would then continue for the whole day, dampening any joy and distracting me from anything else I tried to focus on.

Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks (Time and How to Use It), talks about our time on this planet being terrifyingly short. On average, if we’re lucky, we will have 4,000 weeks to do all the things we want to do. (It is an uplifting book, I promise!). He shares that the reality is that we will never be able to do all the things we want to do, there simply isn’t the time to do everything that is possibly available to us. And quite soberingly points out, we will never be able to complete everything on our to-do list, no matter how many time saving apps we download, ‘life hacks’ we master, processes we implement or books we read.

Ouch. A harsh reality. At first, this scared me.

But he’s right. There will always be more to do.

So start with what is most important to you.

‘Every decision to use a portion of time on anything represents the sacrifice of all the other ways in which you could have spent that time, but didn’t - and to willingly make that sacrifice is to take a stand, without reservation, on what matters most to you.’

I went for a run. It was the thing that was important to me and I knew I would be better for doing it - for my work, for my relationships, for my own peace, for the joy of the day.

When you hear yourself saying ‘I’ll do it later’, pause and consider how important it is to you. If it’s important, do it first.

If it’s not, let it go.


Gemma Brown is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) accredited with the International Coach Federation (ICF). She works with individuals and teams thrive by helping them to elevate their authenticity, purpose and direction. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma works face to face with clients in the Cambridge area as well as via Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.

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