Monday, March 04, 2019

If you have 19 different priorities in life. You don't have any priority.

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash
I initially saw this tweet by @dutch726 on Twitter. I like it because it's something I struggle with daily, especially with a full-time job, a small business, a startup, and a family. Oh yeah, and I care about my physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Despite that list, I feel like I'm able to balance each priority. Here's what I do, which isn't perfect, but it works for me.

Reduce the Number of Priorities With an Audit

Twice a year Jessi and I sit in front of a whiteboard and list out all the things we participate in. Then we cut a couple of them out. It really hurt the first couple of times, because we had to make a lot of cuts. I was busy almost every night doing something. Today I only have something regularly scheduled on Thursday nights.

We still do our twice a year check-in because I have a habit of saying yes to most things, and priorities do shift over time.

Create Times of Focus

I find it helpful to split my day and week into times of focus. That way, despite having multiple priorities, I only focus on one at a time. For example, from 6-8am I focus on me: my physical, mental, and spiritual health by reading, praying, journaling and running.

On weekdays I shift focus to my fulltime job. If it's Saturday, I focus on the startup.

From 5pm-8:30pm I focus on my family.

In the evenings, I focus on either my small business or the startup.

It's not always that clean, but it works most of the time.

The point isn't the amount of time, but deciding - for whatever the period of time - that I'm only going to focus on one thing. And since I know I have other times dedicated to other activities, I'm able to focus.

Take Action

Do you feel like you have too many priorities?

  1. Take an audit of what you're currently doing? You don't need a whiteboard. Sticky notes or a single sheet of paper also work.
  2. Make the hard decision to cut a few things.
  3. For the remaining items, schedule time when you can focus on each one.

Good luck!

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