When you think about how you want to live your life, what comes to mind?
Do you see yourself:
- having your own home
- securing a well paid job
- traveling the world
- having your own business, or
- writing your own book?
It’s important to identify what’s important and valuable to you. This is not always easy to figure out, especially if you feel the pressure (or burden) of dependants or other family and friends who occupy a lot of your time and energy.
Most people don’t make enough time to check their personal to-do list. You might have an everyday to-do list, but it’s either related to home, work or school. A personal to-do list will put more focus on yourself, highlighting what will make you grow, be happy and fulfilled – your personal to-do list should not have a deadline.
Ask yourself “why” about everything that you do. Once you understand what you really want or need you’ll be able to understand what is really important to you. Your priorities may also shift once you understand your “whys”.
Priorities – Why You Need Them
When you focus on a goal or priority, you tend to move towards it; consciously and subconsciously developing the needed behaviors to reach that goal.
It’s like standing up and saying “I want to get that”, and giving your time and focus to that above everything else.
If you don’t have priorities, then you’ll probably find that things will just come together by chance and you may never have real control of anything in your life.
Common Mistakes People Make When Planning Priorities
Mistake No. 1: Everything is a Priority
Lesson one is simple. Everything is NOT a priority!
You might need to:
- lose weight
- build a house
- get a better job
- learn a new language
- go skydiving
and so on.
Tip: don’t spread yourself thin. You will never have the momentum to start and finish anything if everything is a priority.
Mistake No. 2: You Have One, Single Priority
Now we go to the other end of the spectrum, where some people focus entirely on one single thing at the expense of the rest of their life.
Family, friendships, relationships, work, utility bills, your personal hygiene; basically your whole life goes into imbalance and chaos as you focus on one single priority.
The trick is to find a more balanced approach to your priorities without overloading yourself. We cover this next.
How You Can Set Your Priorities
Remember, you can’t do everything at once. You have to prioritize and focus on completing one to three things before you move on to the other things on your list.
This way, you will not lose momentum and suddenly lose interest and waste precious time.
1. Setting Your Priorities
Deciding on your priorities consists of two parts.
- The first part is deciding what you want to achieve.
- The second part is deciding how fast or for how long you want to achieve your goal.
After you have decided what you want and the amount of time you want to spend on it, you’re now ready to align your priorities and focus on your goal.
Think of your goals as short, medium or long term. The trick here is to establish actions and arrange your life around those actions to succeed.
Once you have a timeline, it’s important to commit yourself to achieving your goals and stick to your plan as closely as possible.
2. Balance is Everything
There should be a balance with everything in life.
Try setting a separate list of work and non-work related priorities.
Your personal priorities should be balanced with your work priorities. Some people just tend to focus on their careers and leave out their personal or family priorities. Some just tend to focus on personal priorities, leaving their work out.
Personal and work-related goals should not affect each other and with your limited time, you should use it as efficiently as possible.
3. There Will Be Sacrifices
When it comes to reaching a goal, more often than not there will be sacrifices.
For example, if you want to be successful at work, you might have to sacrifice some personal time.
In the end, you have to remember that priorities can change so if you realize that the road you’re taking is not for you, then stop, reassess and start again.
Don’t be afraid to make changes and adapt to new things.