Get Strategic About Your Time by Prioritizing.
You know what you, me, Oprah and Taylor Swift have in common? We all have 24 hours in a day. Why does it seem they get so much more accomplished than we do?
They’re strategic about time.
You have big plans, and there’s a lot you want to get done.
“Ruthlessly prioritize,” says Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO. That’s how it’s got to be.
With everything I’ve got going on in my life, I feel an intense desire to ruthlessly prioritize. Time to put it into action.
Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you ruthlessly prioritize:
1. What’s important to you? It’s time to take stock.
Do you keep a journal? Take a look at what you’ve written. Are there any themes that pop up time after time? For me, it was starting a business. I looked through my journals, and saw over and over that it was on my bucket list. So I’m doing it.
Take a look at recurring themes in your life, and see what’s important to you – something you want to accomplish. It could be spending time with friends, writing a book, taking a trip.
Observe what goals pop into your head again and again.
Once you know what’s important to you, begin prioritizing.
2. What do you want/need to do?
I place these two words together because I tend to categorize desires in the “want” column when really they should be in the “need” column. In other words, if I say I want to start a business or write a book, and I need to pay the bills, I may decide not to spend time on my wants although they’re important to me.
Be careful. You may want to watch Scandal, but do you really need to? This takes us back to question #1: what’s really important to you? Is catching up on Fitz and Olivia important, yes, but is it time that you need to spend doing what you need to do (write, start a business, educate yourself for your next adventure)? Choose what’s important to you, and you’ll never feel guilty about your choice.
3. What’s keeping you from doing what’s important to you?
If you’re anything like me, guilt and/or fear stops you in your tracks. I feel guilty about hiring a gardener or housekeeper because I feel like I should be able to take care of everything myself. Here’s the problem: there are 24 hours in a day, and I need to ruthlessly prioritize to do what I want to do most.
I feel guilty about telling my best friends that I can’t spend time with them because I have to work on my business or write.
If you have children, choices can be filled with guilt. Shonda Rhimes addresses her struggles balancing her need to create with raising her children in “A Year of Yes.”
Shonda (I feel like I can call her Shonda after reading her book) quotes a Grey’s Anatomy actress as saying something similar to, “Men don’t feel guilty about needing help. They get help all the time at home” with child rearing, taking care of the house, etc. Yet not one of them feels guilty about needing someone to help them. (At least I’ve never heard it.)
No more guilt, I say.
4. Write it down.
Write it down. Writing it down makes it real. It also helps you commit to prioritizing.
Once you write down what you need to do to accomplish what’s important to you, number the list from most important to least important. Then have the list handy (on your phone, on your desk, attached to your calendar), so that every time another things comes up, you can decide whether it needs to take priority over what’s important you.
Now that you’re aware of what’s keeping you from doing what’s important to you, you can overcome those obstacles. There’s no reason to feel guilty making time for yourself to do what you want/need to do.
Figure out what’s important to you, and what’s holding you back.
Then write one tangible step you’re making today to ruthlessly prioritize your needs in the comment section below.
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