In his book Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell tells the story of a young concert violinist:
She was asked the secret to her success. She replied, “Planned neglect.” Then she explained, “When I was in music school, there were many things that demanded my time. When I went to my room after breakfast, I made my bed, straightened the room, dusted the floor, and did whatever else came to my attention. Then I hurried to my violin practice. I found I wasn’t progressing as I thought I should, so I reversed things. Until my practice period was completed, I deliberately neglected everything else. That program of planned neglect, I believe, accounts for my success. (Maxwell, 1993, pp. 28-29)
The idea, or concept, of Planned Neglect is sheer genius. I found that when I practice this principle, I am able to accomplish the top priority task on my list.
What task must you exercise Planned Neglect in order to accomplish?
- Spending time in God’s word- studying His word diligently and getting to know His character more
- Accomplishing academic goals: Studying for an exam, Writing a Lab Report, working to understand and memorize vocabulary
- Finally completing the novel or book that you said you were going to write but never seemed to get the chance to
- Going to church every Sunday and making God first place in your life
- Hitting the gym, treadmill, or talking a walk in the elements to decrease your body fat %, decrease blood glucose levels, and decrease insulin resistance
- Taking the time to spend with your family- or making that phone call to connect with loved ones each day and week
- Practicing the violin, piano, singing (for all those choir people out there!)
- Cleaning your house thoroughly and putting all the clutter away before the family of pack rats move in
- Choosing to bypass the fast food option and painfully GOING grocery shopping to create healthy, home-cooked, and ‘better for your liver‘ meals
- And the list goes on and on and on…
Planned Neglect: Purposeful and Intentional disregard for those things that are unimportant to make room for that which is a priority/necessity to achieve a greater purpose. After all, we all only have 24 hours in day- making room for long-lasting priorities is the only way to achieve success.