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What activity did you complete immediately before you started to read this column? Thinking back, would you rate it at 7 or more on a 10-point scale of engagement and/or impact? If not, what was the point, exactly? Why not pursue a life in which every single thing you're doing rates at least a 7 in one of those two categories — if not both?

Before you whip off an email to me pointing out that life is difficult and that we don't live in a perfect world where everything is sunshine and roses, please hit the pause button. Believe me, I understand that very well. Life is challenging. It requires our doing things we might not enjoy but that we nevertheless must see through. This isn't a column about living in a dream world. My purpose here is to reflect not so much on what we're doing as on how we're doing it.

Let's start with something simple — watching TV. How often do we sit down to watch a show, get about 20 minutes into it, realize it's a 5 at best, but persist because there's "only" another 25 minutes to go? TV rarely scores major points on the impact scale — on affecting your life in some notable way — so engagement is the scale of note here. The show's a 4, you say? In that case, search the dial for something more compelling; perhaps you can bump up your engagement level to 7 or higher. Can't find such an alternative? Perhaps there's a better way to be spending your time.

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