They say there’s no such thing as time management, it’s all about managing your priorities. There are only so many hours in the day, and if you spend your time on things that don’t really matter to you there won’t be time left for the things that do. Here are five steps to get you on the road to putting your best self into your highest priorities.
#1: Create Clear Priorities
If you have a strong desire to be successful and have been experiencing stress and ineffectiveness, it’s likely that your priorities are still unclear. Getting very clear on what is your highest priority can change things for the better quickly.
It’s not enough to make a generic statement like “My family is my top priority.” Drill down even further and make statements such as “Being there for the important times in my family’s life is the most important thing to me.” This will help you make the right choice when you’re asked to attend a recital or sports game that conflicts with another obligation.
#2: Attend to Your Highest Priorities First
After you’ve set clear priorities your next step is to rank them. Give a lot of thought to this upfront because it will save you plenty of time later on. Whenever you’re faced with a dilemma that pits one priority against another you’ll instantly be able to assess which one gets your attention first.
#3: Identify Times When You’re Stuck
Sometimes we can spend hours on a task feeling like we’re busy doing something important only to realize later that it was just fluff. It is important to identify times when you’re stuck in get-it-done mode but the task itself is not a high priority. It’s a way to cut out the BS and only spend your valuable time doing things that matter the most to you.
#4: Stop Believing Your Own Excuses
Part of the process involves getting real with yourself and recognizing when you’re only fooling yourself. It’s so easy to convince yourself that you’re doing the best you can and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But if you tally up all the time spent on busywork or on low priority items you’d have to admit that you could shift things around and be more effective at the things you really care about.
#5: Focus On Positive Results
As you start to move your priorities around and attend to your highest priorities first you will surely see some positive results. Focus on these rather than on the negative habits you still need to correct. What you focus on grows, and you want to make the process as uplifting and positively charged as possible.
Be on the lookout for the first positive sign that things are working and you’re moving towards the life you’ve imagined. Once you see that it is working you’ll be even more likely to keep it up and keep the good times going.