Setting Priorities

Busy? Sure you are. I don’t know too many people who aren’t busy doing one thing or another. That’s one of the most common complaints I hear these days. I’m too busy!’

“I’m too busy to…. do what I really want to do….”

Now I’m not sure I can call myself an expert on busyness these days. Or maybe I’m an expert on managing busyness. I don’t have children to get to school, I don’t have employees to manage. I don’t have a lot of clients to attend to. Although I have done all of those things, so I can empathise with you if you do, my priorities these days have shifted. Sure, I could be really busy and some days I am, but pretty much I’m doing the things I have chosen to do, that are taking me where I want to go, that are bringing me the most happiness and that are bringing out the best in me.

Even so, I still found myself the other day saying I’m too busy! I looked a little more closely at what I was doing, and I realised that I needed to just take a little more notice around the decisions I was making each day, each week. What I was planning, what I was saying yes to. What I was getting distracted around. What was really important versus what was urgent.

Organising our priorities. A skill we’d all like to master! It’s all about getting our life into perspective – every day!

Yeah, sure we can take ourselves off to a retreat and spend a week thinking about our life and our big choices, (and I certainly recommend that!) but what about every day? Every day starts again with a fresh batch of choices, tasks and commitments. Every week we go through a series of events and meetings and it’s important to be able to look at each day with a fresh set of eyes and as a new series of possibilities, rather than a week full of to do’s, rather not do’s, should’s and would’s if I had the time…

I know for some of you every day is busy and seems like it’s pre-ordained. No room left for ANYTHING! Especially anything new, or vaguely creative.
The truth is we make our own time. 

Here’s a thought. How quickly our priorities can change based on the way we see a situation. Imagine, you’re walking down the street, on the way to a meeting. You’re a little late so you’re focussed. You should be OK, but only if you keep moving! There’s a guy in the street and he asks if you’ve got time to help the whales in Japan. Now if your priorities are conservation, you’ll probably make time, but if you’re interested but not passionate about it, you’ll probably walk by and say – “I’d love to but I’m late for a meeting…” so you walk on. Then you see a little boy crying, sitting on the side of the street. He looks really upset and maybe even hurt. Now this changes things a bit, I think I can make time for this little boy. He really needs help. My meeting can wait. I can’t just leave him there!!! See how quickly your priorities can change? How you can make time when you really need to make time?

The truth is we often wait until something comes along that gives us enough pain to force a change in routines. Sickness, relationships breakdown…Don’t wait for a big shift in your paradigm to change the way you prioritise your life. Take stock every day, appreciate your time and choose wisely.

How to prioritise – every day

1. Get a fresh perspective every day
Something simple like 5 minutes silent meditation every morning can slow you down and give you a chance to see the day afresh and look at life with new eyes.

2. Get aware – wake up!
Don’t just blindly go through your week with assumptions. Choose consciously. Journaling helps you tune into your true self and allows you to refocus on what matters most.

3. Make space every week
I’ve always been a planner. I like to have my week organised as much as I can. But more recently, I know I need to allow for free-flow space, to let things in. Ideas, people, ME!

4. Take a look at your big rocks regularly
Fitting the most important things in first. Take stock of what your most important things in life are… plan for those first then fit everything else around them.

5. Set up your space
I like to surround myself with things that mean something to me. Like this painting my dad did for me (you can see it to the right…) and my dearly departed dog… They remind me of what’s important, allow me to build a life that encourages inspiration, reflection and creativity.

6. Get a fresh perspective – literally
Go climb a mountain! Look at life from a new angle, get out and about and try something new! Get amongst it! (I’ve started climbing Mt Coolum and I love it!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with ‘things to do’ remember these 6 simple steps and review where your priorities lie!