Align Time with Your Priorities

When I decided to pursue a doctoral degree, I was very excited. It was an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream.

After completing the entrance requirements, I was accepted into the program. I was excited to attend my first class.

When I arrived at the class, several of my classmates were introducing themselves to each other. As I listened to the different conversations, I realized we all had the same concern. What concern? What would it take to earn our degree?

When the professor began class, she asked each of us to introduce ourselves and share why we wanted to earn a doctoral degree. After we finished, she reviewed the degree requirements. We listened intently as she explained the number of credits required, grading scale, how to access the online portal and course expectations.

Once our professor finished her prepared remarks, she asked if we had any questions. One brave soul raised her hand and asked the question we were all thinking. She asked, “how long does it take to get a doctorate?” Our professor smiled and turned the question back to the class.

She asked, “how long does the university give students to complete their degree?” I responded “seven years.” She then asked, “what is ABD? I looked around the room but no one knew the answer. Our professor explained ABD stood for All But Dissertation. She said, “every year many students will start a doctorate program but many will not finish.”

Many students will successfully complete the required coursework but never complete their dissertation. Why would someone spend years going to school but not complete the final step? Our professor explained many students struggle with balancing their school work and life.

As I reflect on my journey to complete my degree, Maxwell’s Law of Sacrifice comes to the forefront of my thoughts. In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Dr. John C. Maxwell states, “a leader must give up to go up.”

I must agree to give up something of lesser value to achieve something of greater value.

What are you willing to trade in order to achieve success? Review your daily activities and ask yourself the following two questions:

  1. What are you willing to give up…
  2. What are you not willing to give up…

…in order to achieve success?

Moderation is the key to success. Maybe you like watching TV or playing video games. You don’t have to give them up completely. Instead of watching four hours of TV every night you may change your viewing habits and spend some time watching TV as well as reading professional materials.

Make choices about your time that are aligned with your priorities.

“The key to your success is in your daily agenda. “

Dr. John C. Maxwell

Is your time aligned with your priorities?


This guest post was originally published on by Dr. Kim Moore, #YourLeadershipGuide, Crossroads Career Services volunteer, DISC Consultant, and certified coach, speaker, and trainer with The John Maxwell Team.


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