Do you have a clear “to-do” list that you’re always behind on?
If you’re a creative type, like me, likely you have many great aspirations across your life, and what you tend to do is prioritize your actions, without clarifying your priorities. I know, this sounds like the old “who’s on first” skit from Abbot and Costello, but stick with me. Do you know that reference? :)
Do you feel like you have wasted time?
At best this can mean we waste a little time doing things that we really don't care that much about, but in the moment takes our attention away from what really matters to us. At worst, this can mean wasting years on misguided actions because without clean priorities, everything is vying for our attention at the same level of urgency. And if we happen to be on autopilot, there goes our time.
Autopilot is a time sucker
We may even miss out on the big things in life by mistake if we are not deliberate, like making our relationships a priority, going back to school, getting married, having a family, taking a chance on that career we really wanted, getting into something just for ourselves after having children, developing that relationship with yourself you have always wanted the time to cultivate. Basically, anything important to you that you wish you would have prioritized earlier. Does this sound familiar? Just know it may SEEM to you that it's too late, but it truly is never to late, if you believe this to be true. I'll show you how to have more time now.
Are you on a runaway train of your own making?
Maybe none of these examples has quite happened yet, but you are afraid that if you continue down the busy path you are on like a runaway train, it might? I can help you with this. I can help you make more time in your life without changing your outside circumstances today. Have you been meaning to arrive at some special result in your life, but you are too busy with your to-to list to get it done? Maybe you are like many of my clients. Their attention is pulled in the direction of every new and shinny thing because they think it is going to make them feel good, or better. But it ends up that they just consume more information, spend more money, spend more time, waste time buffering with food, alcohol, shopping, and Netflix, to name a few. And unfortunately it never seems to make them feel better, or get on the right path, but in the short term it's an easy fix.
Differentiating between a priority and action can make a HUGE difference.
It’s important to differentiate between a priority and an action. Without clear priorities, we are faced with a sea of actions that we try to fit into our schedule as fast as we can. You know that frenzied feeling well.
So we all start from the same place, the good old Oxford Dictionary defines priority and action as follows.
1. Priority as “a thing that is regarded as much more important than another."
2. Action as “the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.”
Even from the definition, can you see how not being clear on your priorities will have you chasing shiny things?
Yet it’s so common for us to let our schedules drive us. And for a lot of us, that is because we are not clear and grounded on our priorities first. When you are clear on your top priorities (1-3) you’ve taken the biggest step to getting focused, and helping you to say “no,” to yourself. “No” to actions that are connected to priorities that are much further down your list. “No” to actions that are connected to priorities that aren’t even on your list. “No” to the amazing new idea you’ve had because it’s not in your top 1-3 priorities right now. At first, I suggest that you stick to your top 1-3 priorities for at least 90 days. This is a pretty good amount of time for you to see things to fruition.
Do you see how, if we hold everything as a priority, then we aren’t able to do a good job managing our actions? Because at that point all actions are equal. Take your shiny new priorities and use them to build a fence around your free-range action items. Stop chasing whoever you see across the field, or over the next rise. If a lot of your actions are linked to lower ranking priorities, why are you doing them? For a lot of us, it’s because they are there.
Clarify your priorities and better manage your calendar and your life. Here’s a quick way to begin.
Turn busyness into intentional focus by asking yourself 4 questions –
1. What are my priorities? –
- You really want to know these, in order, so you place your creative energy appropriately
2. What really needs to be done?
- As it relates to your top priorities.
3. What doesn’t need to be done?
- Are you doing things because you like to (which is great) but they are costing you time spent with your top priorities, you know those things that actually really matter to you?
4. Do I want to be doing this?
- It can be hard, but it’s so important, to recognize if you’re doing the actions that support your top goals, or if you’re doing the actions that feel like fun to you. Sometimes the answers to both questions are the same and that’s great! Sometimes, we’re doing things because we enjoy them, but the actions themselves are not taking us anywhere bigger picture.
One thing I know for sure is that when you follow your priorities instead of chasing shiny things, you will feel amazing because what you accomplish will be very meaningful to you. Even if it's not so much fun in the moment, building the muscle of being on purpose with what REALLY matters to you feels waaaaaay better than any immediate gratification you might currently go for. Try it and let me know what you think.
Oh and today I was working on my new live webinar coming up soon especially for women who are struggling with working too much, AKA workaholism, and how you can create more time and less work for yourself immediately. If you want more details, reply to this email and I will put you on the list and send you all the info when it's ready!