How do you prioritize?Nov 01, 2022
There's no one answer to this question - it depends on what's important to you and what you're trying to achieve. However, here are a few tips that might help:
What is your definition of "prioritize"?
I define prioritization as focus. In the book Great At Work by Morten T. Hansen, we learn the term "Focus and Obsess". Research that the book is based on has found that high performers hyper-focus on one, two, or max three things, and then they obsess about it.
Recently I had to re-prioritize how I spent my time. Finding myself in a new situation everything was happening at the same time, and at some point something felt off. I took some time to check-in and found I needed to do some adjustments and focus on my priorities.
For me, it is helpful to see it as a muscle. The more you practice, the easier it gets and the better you get at making decisions on what is most important. I lean on my core values and my energy level, and I use Personal Kanban to help me prioritize. I find it helpful to visualize work and notice where things get stuck as this gives me valuable information.
What is your definition of "prioritize"?
What are your top three values in life, and why do they matter to you?
I think that it is important to understand what prioritization means to me. This helps me figure out what is most important. But I also need to understand why I choose the things that I do. That is why I have worked on identifying my top three values. The three values that mean the most to me in life are Freedom, Connection, and Growth.
Freedom means having the time, space, and resources to do what I want, when I want, without constraint. This value is important to me because it allows me to live my life on my own terms and pursue my passions.
Having connections with others is important to me because it makes me feel seen, heard, and like I belong. This feeling of connection matters because it helps me thrive. It is how I learn, how I grow, how I find support, and how I feel a sense of belonging. Without meaningful connections, I would not be able to thrive.
Growth is about continuing to learn, grow, and develop as a person. It is about expanding my horizons, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, and taking risks. Growth is important to me because it is how I ensure that I am living a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.
One way to achieve greater clarity and peace in your life is to consider your values and how you spend your time. If what you value most doesn't line up with where you're spending the majority of your time, it might be necessary to make some changes. After all, you deserve to live a life that feels good!
How do your current priorities reflect or conflict with your values?
The three values that mean the most to me in life are Freedom, Connection, and Growth. I'm always aware of my choices and make sure that my priorities reflect these core values. For example, even though it was tough, I left my corporate consulting job because having more freedom is a top priority for me.
I also make time for relationships with people who matter to me and who help me feel connected and develop as a person. If I surround myself with people whose values don't align with mine, I start to feel out of sync with what's important to me.
Prioritize your time according to your values to stay on track. If you feel something is out of alignment, it may be time for a change.
What would it look like to prioritize in a way that aligns more closely with your values?
What changes do you need to make?
Take some time to think about your values and how you can incorporate them into your daily life. Then, start making small changes to align your actions with your values. Over time, you'll find that living in alignment with your values will become easier and more natural.
For example, if one of your values is family, then you might want to focus on spending more time with them. If growth is one of your core values, then you might want to prioritize learning opportunities and experiences.
The key is to be aware of your values and how they guide your priorities. When you are clear about your values the fuzziness disappears and choices become easy. So, the next time you find yourself needing to prioritize, check in with your values and let them be your guide.
How can you start making small changes today that will move you closer to a more prioritized life?
Take the first step today towards living a more prioritized life that is aligned with your values. Ask yourself what do I want to say NO to today and get curious about why that is. From there, you can begin to experiment with different choices and see how they impact your life.
If you're unsure of your values or how to use them properly, working with a professional coach may be beneficial. They can help guide you in understanding your personal system of values and how to incorporate them into daily decision-making.
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