What matters Most? Finding balls to drop

I’ve had a week of dropping balls all over the place … so I thought this article might help anyone else who was having a shocker…from the New York Times…

What matters most to you?

It’s a big question to answer. But it’s impossible to start letting things go until you understand what needs to stay. To begin, try this visualization exercise adapted from the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”: Imagine three people eulogizing you at your funeral. What would they say about you? What do you hope they say about you? Think about all the roles in your life: daughter, manager, friend. Ask yourself, What does a good daughter do? How do I know that’s what a good daughter does?

When I first did this exercise, my biggest epiphany was that a lot of my definition of “success” had to do with my mother — and that a lot of my expectations of myself were rooted in fear. When I stripped that away, I was able to focus on what really mattered to me — in my case, working to advance the status of women and girls, nurturing a healthy partnership with my husband and raising my children as conscious global citizens.


Once you’re clear about what matters most to you, the next question to ask is, “What should I be doing to focus on it?” Too often, we’re so overwhelmed with all the tasks on our plate that we fail to question whether they should even be occupying our time.

Remember, just because you can do something better or faster than the people around you doesn’t mean that it belongs on your to-do list. Here’s a simple exercise for determining which of your balls are droppable: Write down what matters most to you. Now write down the tasks on your to-o list — and keep them specific. For each task, ask yourself the following questions: Is this an essential task, relative to what matters most to me? Do I do this really well with little effort? Is this something only I can do — or could it be delegated to someone else?

Does this task bring me joy? If you answer “yes” to three or more of these questions for any task, it probably represents your best use and you’d be wise to keep it on your list. If you’ve answered “no” three or more times for any task, it’s probably a ball you can drop.


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