Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lengthen Your Stride

President Spencer W. Kimball challenged us to "lengthen our stride" in the context of missionary work, but in the context of time management and getting stuff done in general, it still works pretty well.

Here's part of the original quote: “I wonder if we are doing all we can. … Are we prepared to lengthen our stride?” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 5).

So here's the big question to all of us (especially me, I might add): Are we doing all we can? Or are we stopping our own progress by doing less than all we can?

What does it mean to lengthen our stride? It means we keep doing what we're doing, but we do it more effectively. We push ourselves a little harder and take bigger steps.

Once when I was walking home in the frigid Wisconsin winter, I wondered what I might be able to do differently that would get me home sooner. I was so cold, I really couldn't walk any faster. But it occurred to me that if I "lengthened my stride" and just took bigger steps, I'd take fewer of them and I'd theoretically get home faster.

Did it work? Actually, I don't remember. I was so cold that no matter how quick the trip was, it was still too long.

But the idea's still a good one. What can we do in our lives to lengthen our strides? Or, if bigger steps aren't possible, how about taking faster ones? Sometimes improved efficiency is the key. Sometimes we get so caught up in taking our time that we spend too much time on routine tasks that really could be done more quickly.

The real key, though, is to determine what you need to do and then do it. (Another of President Kimball's slogans.) Just do it. Period. I can tell you that I probably need this advice more than anyone else reading this will. It's easy to think big and decide you're going to do something different, but it's a whole 'nother thing to actually make it happen.

I hope you all feel suitably motivated now, because next time I'm discussing some time-saving tips that can help you "quicken your stride." Tips from readers are very welcome. What do you do to save time in the routine things in your life so you have more time for the important things?


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