What Matters Most?


35,000 each day; that is the estimate often given, referencing the number of decisions you make in an average day. It is no wonder we often feel like 24 hours is not near enough time to get everything done that we have on our schedules each day. So how do you decide, “What Matters Most?”

First of all, you may be thinking 35,000 decisions can’t possibly be correct; the reality is that is only the tip of the iceberg. When you add in all the subconscious decisions the brain is making every second, the number is more than your brain can even comprehend. So pat yourself on the back, IBM’s supercomputer “Watson” still has a ways to go before it catches up to a human brain. This is an interesting video on number of decisions you make in a day.

What Matters Most….

Over the last week, on three separate occasions, I witnessed where the question of “What Matters Most?” was a topic of a discussion. Early in the week it was the used to prioritize action items during a client meeting. Mid-week, it was part of round table discussion on time management with a group of business leaders. Then Friday evening at a local church, keynote speaker and author, Matthew Kelly posed the “What Matters Most?” question to a capacity crowd during the first few minutes of his presentation on Life’s Passion and Purpose. Each a different circumstance, though the question was equally effective.

After you hear something three times in one week, in three different contexts, it must be a sign to share a few thoughts on the power of What Matters Most, be it business or life. Actually, this idea of What Matters Most is something we regularly challenge our Aspire clients to ask. The pointedness of the question naturally drives you to a response that leads to clarity and action. That’s the power of the question. What Matters Most?

A Great Place to insert What Matters Most….

Everyone is familiar with “To-Do Lists”; in fact a quick search on google netted 40 of the Best “To-Do” Apps. So, it is fair to say there are at least another 100 out there that missed the cut! The problem with the traditional To-Do List is unless you consciously think of prioritizing the items everything on the list is equally important. It will leave you feeling overwhelmed with where to even start.

Try this, start renaming your To-Do List as a “What Matters Most” List. It is really just a simple play on words, but it automatically makes your brain think about the importance and priority of the task as you write or type it. Even if your argument is “It doesn’t matter, they all need to get done”, it challenges you to put them in an order of significance and importance. Think of it this way, if you were plugging holes in the deck of a sinking boat, your “What Matters Most” list would have all the holes listed, but I assure the biggest would be at the top of the list.

You can plug these three words into everything from daily business tasks, to weekend chores lists, and long term strategic planning initiatives. When you create lists of action items think of them in terms of “What Matters Most?”, see how your eyes naturally are drawn to what is most important and how you naturally prioritize them as you write them. If other people create lists for you to complete, introduce them to the What Matters Most approach, so you will know the order of importance when you receive the list. What Matters Most to You? And, if you still want more help organizing your priorities, try these 6 questions to keep things moving.

Challenge for the week…..

WRITE: What Matters Most? On a sticky note(s) and place them in places you will see them regularly, IE.: Bathroom mirror, Car dash, Corner of Computer Screen (or make it a Screen Saver), Family Photo. Let us know if it drives you to more clarity and action as you go through your day.

Have you ever used the What Matters Most approach in your personal life? Have you tried in your business? If so, how did your team respond? As always we love hear your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach