Look at your calendar. Go ahead. Take it out. Your calendar will tell you what your priorities are. I guarantee it. Is your calendar filled with kids’ sports activities? Your priorities are your kids. Is it full of weekend getaways and a countdown to Spring Break? Your priority is travel and vacation. Does your calendar contain regularly scheduled date nights for you and your spouse? Your relationship is a priority. Are you booked with work and side-hustle gigs? Earning a living or creating a better life for you and your family are a priority to you. We schedule the things that are most important to us and that is why priorities and time management go hand in hand.
Priorities and Time Management
Everyone wishes they had more time in the day, but unfortunately, all anyone has is 24 hours. Prioritizing and learning how we can manage our time more effectively is what we should focus on. However, you can’t begin to prioritize your time if you aren’t clear about what’s important to you. So, ask yourself… What are your priorities?
- What are your goals?
- What is most important to you or to your family?
- Why do you want to do XYZ, or ABC?
- Do you have a desire to travel?
- Want to change careers?
- Maybe you want to send your kids to private school.
- Or maybe you want to pay for college, so they graduate debt free.
- Ask yourself why these things are a priority for you and why you want to accomplish these goals?
Determine your priorities. You must be specific. Do you want to start a new business and earn an extra or a replacement income? Have a bucket list item that you haven’t yet accomplished in your life? Do you have a passion project you’d like to focus on? Have a desire to get organized, or control your spending budget? Want to become rich and famous? Or do you want to leave a legacy for your children, or your children’s children? What is it you REALLY want?
These questions may seem a little silly as you start out. Don’t be embarrassed to admit some of these things out loud. Without clarity about what iss most to you, you won’t be able to figure out what goals you should be working towards and how you should be spending your time.
Grab a piece of paper and take a few minutes. In one column, list as many things as you can that are important to you. In the second column, list all the things you spend your time on. (Use this handout to get started with brainstorming and completing this exercise.)
Next, using a red marker, circle the 5 things that currently occupy the majority of your time. With a green marker, circle the things that are the most important to you. (NOTE: Some of these may be circled with both colors.) Then, list the 5 things that are the most important to you, in order of priority.
These 5 priorities you just listed are what you should be focusing your time and your energy on. Post your list of priorities in places where you can see them throughout the day. Put the list on your phone, next to your computer, in your planner, on the bathroom mirror, on your nightstand, and on the refrigerator. Then schedule time on your calendar to work on those priorities. Hold yourself accountable and keep your appointments with yourself. The clearer you are about what your priorities are, the easier it will be to make good choices about how you spend your time.
Priorities will change
Priorities can and do change over time. Kids grow up. Circumstances change. That’s okay. Because life happens and things change, I recommend doing this activity annually. You can do it alone for your personal priorities, or even do it as a family, for your family’s priorities. (You will be surprised what is important to your kids or your spouse.)
No matter how often you do this exercise, get clear with your priorities so you can effectively manage your time. Priorities and time management go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Here’s to determining what’s important to you, setting your priorities and RESETTING your life!
Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” – CHRISTINA SCALISE
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