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Invest Your Time

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- When another year closes out, many people take time to reflect upon the previous year, assess areas where improvements can be made, make goals, and quickly get back to the daily grind of this activity we call work.

As we make goals and determine those areas to focus on in the upcoming year, I urge all of us to prioritize our commitments and focus on how we spend our time. Days, weeks and months quickly get filled up with numerous activities from both work and home. All the activities have some degree of importance. Sometimes we get to choose an activity or event and other times the choice is made for us.

Stephen R. Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People," said, "The key is not spending time, but in investing it."

We are all in control of how we invest our time. At different stages in life and careers, we will invest more time into learning a new task or becoming familiar with the intricate details of a new job or section. As we invest our time, we need to distinguish which events are critical and create a balance between work and family.

Over the course of our lives, there are those activities or events which only come around once. If we miss out on an opportunity to participate in or witness an event, the opportunity may never present itself again. Watching a child's play, a sporting event or an awards presentation at school might only come around once or twice.

Sometimes we will miss an event due to a deployment, TDY or other work related activity.

However, there will be times we can influence the calendar and make time for a critical event. Don't sacrifice family or those events which are critical in your life when we can make the opportunity to attend. Make a wise investment.

Don't get me wrong -- there are plenty of sacrifices each and every one of us make daily, monthly, yearly and over a career. The daily job must get done, however, it is our obligation and duty to recognize the difference between critical events and invest our time wisely.

As we all help recruit the next two or three generations of personnel who will serve in our great armed forces, create a balance in your life and know what events and activities are critical.

Lee Iacocca, one-time president and CEO of the Chrysler Corporation, said, "If you want to make good use of your time, you've got to know what's most important and then give it all you've got."

I am confident the members of our great Air Force know how to "give it all you've got," but sometimes we struggle with "what's most important."

As we reflect upon a great year and look forward to another year with tremendous challenges and opportunities, I urge you to invest your time in what's most important to you.