Keeping the main thing the main thing.
One of my colleagues recently pointed me to the blog of Barry Werner, whose background includes serving as director of operations for World Wide Pictures at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In his entries, Werner has been walking through the Old Testament and considering how different leadership principles are represented in the passages he reads.
One of his recent posts—which he relates to Numbers 33—addresses the issue of self-discipline. He's primarily talking about time management, and I found this line to be the most helpful:
The essence of self-discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.
An urgent task, after all, is easy to discern. All you have to know is the deadline, and how much time will be needed to accomplish it. In fact, an urgent task is almost impossible to ignore.
But an important task—well, to discern that requires a bigger-picture perspective, something quickly lost on a busy afternoon. Without a concrete deadline to remind us or compel us, we let it slide. So what do you do to clarify your daily priorities and stick to them?