Prioritizing is no fun, but somebody has to do it and the more you do it for yourself, the better off you will be. I just had to say no to something I really, really want to do – a trip to NYC to see friends and hear great music. UGHH. But, I really have to make several work commitments a priority.
Part of being an adult and being committed to what you do is learning how to prioritize. When you don’t, there are always consequences, whether it is feeling overwhelmed later, negating responsibilities, or dumping on someone else. So, I am trading my sad feelings not taking this fun trip for the conflicted feelings I know I would have later if I did. Learning to prioritize is something I help people do in Coaching, so I can at least say I’m practicing what I preach.
Here is a reality check on creating priorities. See if it is helpful.
MAKE A FULL LIST OF ALL COMMITMENTS
Most everyone I know is juggling multiple things at once. It seems like the speed and volume of activity have jumped exponentially in these mostly post-covid times. It requires being cognizant of everything you have to keep up with and making sure you know all your commitments.
I am a list maker. I put everything on the list – from the big projects to the errands I need to run. I worry for those who don’t make lists and watch firsthand when I see what happens. Invariably something falls through the cracks. I’m juggling four big things right now, each with many details; without my lists, I would easily have said, “NYC here I come.” My list keeps me focused on what’s important.
BLOCK THINGS OUT ON A TIMELINE
Most commitments have a timeline for when it needs to be brought to completion. It helps to make the due date at least a day earlier to give yourself time for the inevitable problems that arise and double checking.
I put things on my list and my calendar so I can pace through the details. Each big project has its own list, with items that need to be done this week on the regular list. Know the social expectations about how soon people need to be notified of events, when social media posts need to be made, and when things are due. All these expectations need to be honored if you want to be taken seriously. Then cross things off as you go – my favorite part.
RECOGNIZE WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT AND WHY
Most tasks have a beginning, middle, and end. When considering what needs to be a priority, understand the sequence of things to be efficient. It helps to write your list in the order in which things need to be done. I am very aware of this for the grant I’m working on, which keeps it from being overwhelming. But what needs to be done now on your regular list? Know when you need help and utilize people’s skills. Everyone benefits.
Also, notice if you are constantly doing too much. Do you wonder why you are overwhelmed? Everything has its own energy signature, and some people keep taking responsibility for things that make them feel bad. Prioritize what and how much you do so you are only putting your focus on what is really needed, helpful and important. Learn to say no when something isn’t a priority.
MAKE YOUR FUN DOWNTIME A PRIORITY TOO
There is no reason to feel sorry for myself, I have more fun than most people. I am certain it is because I take my fun just as seriously as my work. I schedule it and make it a priority too. Unfortunately, this NYC trip came up randomly, too soon for me to make time for it. Lee’s playing a gig with his Senegal friends for an event in Times Square. I am excited for him.
When you take yourself seriously, prioritizing your work and your fun goes hand in hand. They are equally important and yet, too much of one over the other will always create a problem. Balance is the way of health – and that requires prioritizing each to make them happen successfully.
Know the tasks involved: Make a full list of all your commitments, create a timeline of when things are due, prioritize what needs to be done now, know when you are doing too much, then plan for your fun. It keeps you in balance.
If you would like support to keep your priorities straight, reach out. My Transformational Coaching and Therapy addresses this issue and uses your own energy signature to help you determine what is important in your life. Go to www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my Free Consultation link to reach me. I would love to hear from you.