Where do you place your highest priorities in life? And how long is that list?
A while back I was called to evaluate this list, considering what my next options were in career and vocation. As I tend to be one who spends a lot of time evaluating and introspecting on the healthiest of occasions, these types of lists come easy to me. Or so it has seemed in the past. In short order, I realized my list was muddied and far too long. My top priorities looked more like a menu board at McDonald’s.
I came across the ‘5% principle’ in the book Leading On Empty, by Wayne Cordeiro. When he suffered burnout in leadership his list of important items was out of control, and he realized he needed to consider what the top 5% of his life represented. 85% was the list of tasks that anyone could do in his life, most of which was general maintenance. The next 10% could be called specialized training, things that other people could do in his place but required more effort or ability than just getting up in the morning. In healthy circumstances, these things are pretty easy to identify and keep in their categories.
But that top 5% directs the rest. If it is off, then the train has trouble staying the right track. This is a short list, but it is the important stuff. It comes to a very basic line of thought: What has God called only me to be in this life? What does He require that only I do in the days I have been given?
Surprisingly, answering emails should not be in your 5%. But this list is still less complicated than one might first think. I know it struck me in its simplicity. I have asked others to establish their values in the past; the short list of things on which they will not budge. Why? So they know how to direct themselves in a healthy manner in all matters. But when you lose energy, it is an amazingly easy list to misplace in the junk drawer of the soul.
So, can you list your 5%?