Would you like to know a little secret? You can’t do it all, and you can’t have it all! Each of us have only 24 hours per day. Our energy to accomplish things during that time is just as limited as the time. Getting good at prioritization is a key element of becoming successful. This idea of choosing what to do when and what to focus on “right now” comes into play in a few different ways.
- Prioritization When Setting Goals
When we define our unique version of success and begin setting our goals, prioritization must come into play. I am famous for having many goals, ideas and ambitions.
In fact, after my husband, Rendel, and I got married, I let him know that it was his job to make sure that I stayed anchored to the earth. He could do so by making sure I had at least one foot tethered. In other words, I wanted to make sure that I stayed somewhat realistic, but didn’t want anyone to dampen my dreams and aspirations. So, after telling him it was his responsibility to keep me tethered, I also told him that he would meet resistance in the process. We have had many good laughs over that and his efforts to keep me tethered.
While each of us may have ideas and ambitions, not all of them are feasible. My sister always wanted to be an astronaut, but there simply isn’t a big market for that occupation and she wasn’t able to make it happen.
So, instead, you must prioritize on something that’s exciting and attainable. Maybe it’s teaching high-school science, or maybe it’s running an online store for astronomy equipment and supplies, or being a business coach, or being successful in business or raising a good family.
You’ll also need to prioritize goals for different areas of your life. If you’re just starting out in your career, you may spend more time and energy at the office than with your family. Eventually, that will change, and you’ll shift your focus to strengthening those relationships. Being able to prioritize what’s most important right now helps you get things done without feeling too guilty about it.
2. Prioritization Based On Biggest Impact
Now that you have determined what your goal is and what milestones you need to reach to make that goal, (review yesterday’s post if need be) it’s time to pick what will have the most impact and what will move you ahead more than anything else. What if your number one goal is becoming debt free? Most of us have a fixed amount of money to spend each month on reducing any debt, and so we must prioritize where we put the money. One effective way is to start with the highest interest debt. Begin paying extra on it to make the most progress. In this example, it’s easy to determine where to spend your money. But, it’s not always easy to see where your efforts would have the most significant impact on other goals.
Spend some time thinking about this, get advice from a mentor or peer, someone you trust, and keep an eye on your effectiveness. You will get a better feel for prioritizing for the biggest impact over time.
3. Prioritization Based On Your Environment
None of us live in a vacuum and life is full of surprises, some of which can be pretty difficult to get through. As a result, we must pick and choose wisely. Working on what’s most important to use and that we feel will have the biggest impact isn’t always possible. For example, let’s say one of your definitions of success is to move to a nicer neighborhood and into a bigger house. In order to do that you must sell your home. To make sure you get the best price possible, you want to do some major decluttering, cleaning, and some minor renovations. Your goal for this week was to repaint the living room. Then your child gets sick. Painting the living room is no longer feasible. So you adjust and do a little kitchen decluttering in between taking care of your sick little one.
Sometimes our priorities have to change and shift based on our circumstances and our environment. It happens, and it’s ok. Do what you can and get back to what you perceive as the highest priorities when it’s feasible.