When it comes to managing your personal and professional life, things can get a little tricky. On any given day we are inundated with more information than we probably have time to process or even respond to. Have you ever wondered and asked yourself, “How did I get here?” In Jon Acuff’s book Start he encourages his readers to escape average and do work that matters as it relates to both our personal and professional life.

The book describes the various stages of success in one’s life. It really is a process as you walk through the lands of learning, editing, mastering, harvesting and guiding. But, in the end it really is the journey. A journey that takes years to master as you work from being average to becoming awesome.

In reading the book, I learned it also takes discipline and patience to escape average. Below are my top five tips from the book, taken from different categories the book describes, that will allow you to carve out time in your daily schedule to do the work that really matters.

  1. The Land of Learning: Engage in a 72-hour audit where you write down the 30-minute chunks of time you spend over a three-day period. (The books suggests you do two work days and one weekend day.) As you review the results of your audit you should be able to find 30 minutes (spoiler alert – there is probably more than 30 minutes available) you can rescue to work on your dream each week. Try it. It’s easier than you think.
  2. The Land of Learning (again): As you begin to focus on what matters most, write a list of what won’t get done. Don’t feel guilty about the balls that may drop. Drop them on purpose. This was definitely an “aha moment” for me. Is it the same for you as well?
  3. The Land of Editing: “What gives me the most joy?” One of my favorite questions from the book. This is probably harder to answer than you may think. Take some time to really think about it.
  4. The Land of Mastering: Identify a little bit of Central Park in your life. This is your sanctuary. If you don’t have a sacred spot (i.e., what Central Park is to New York City) in your day to take a step back and reflect on what matters, you will continue down the same path of average. I bet you are really intrigued now, right? To learn more, go to page 157 of the book.
  5. The Land of Guiding: “Pick one day a week that you will set aside time to deliberately guide someone else.” As Jon states in his book, it won’t happen unless you’re intentional. I think he is right. Do you?

I could honestly go on and on about all of the golden nuggets of wisdom and self-discovery in this book. I highly recommend walking through the lands of learning, editing, mastering, harvesting and guiding to help you understand where you are and where you are going. I promise you, it won’t be time wasted.

Once you have read the book, I would love to know what tips resonated with you.

Kelly McGrath is Account Director at AKHIA