“Why am I so busy all the time yet never feel like I get anything done?”
I hear this question from women all of the time. They feel like they are on the go from sunup to sundown, yet they have nothing to show for all of their efforts.
Understandably, their frustration is high.
Do you feel this way, too?
I’ll admit, even though I’m a productivity junkie and try to manage my time well, there are many days when I feel like I’ve done a lot, yet I’m not any closer to achieving goals I’ve set for myself.
Last year I decided to analyze how I’m spending my time trying to figure out why I was not being more productive. Before I began this process, I thought procrastination or being distracted by other things (ahem, social media) would be the primary culprits.
However, after digging deep into my schedule, my commitments and responsibilities, and the way I chose to use my time, I realized it was not procrastination or distractions at all that were holding me back from achieving my goals. In fact, procrastination and distractions were just two of the symptoms, not the root causes.
I discovered the reason I felt like my wheels were spinning was that what was most important in my life was not clearly defined. In other words, I didn’t understand what my priorities were.
Because I had not clearly defined my priorities, I was living at the whim of other people’s priorities. Sure, I set some great attainable goals. However, those goals became hard to achieve because they did not align with what was most important in my life. They didn’t reflect my current reality.
Let me share an example.
At the beginning of 2019, I set a goal to pursue a Young Living essential oil products business. I wanted to develop a team and share all things Young Living. Well, by the time May or June rolled around, I had not taken one step towards that goal. It was then that I realized while it was a great and achievable goal, it did not line up with what was most important to me at that time in my life. So I crossed that goal off of my list.
Once I defined my priorities, I was able to set goals that better reflected what I wanted out of life. And I began to understand that knowing what is important to me is the foundation for effective time management.
Still not convinced that knowing your priorities is key to be able to manage your time well and actually feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day?
Then let me share a few benefits of knowing your priorities.
Benefits of knowing your priorities
We are better able to determine what we should say yes to and what we should say no to.
Often we have cluttered calendars because we say yes to something too quickly. I get it. Helping others and being involved in our communities is important to us. However, when we take on too many commitments that don’t align with our priorities, then we feel defeated and don’t get anything done towards our own goals.
When we have clearly defined what is important to us, then we have a tool to filter all of the requests of our time that come to us. We can take a step back and ask ourselves, “Does this line up with my priorities?” or “If this doesn’t line up with my priorities, is it still something that interests me and would be worth the sacrifice of my time on something else?”
Knowing your priorities can save you a lot of time and regret down the road. But only if you use them as your guide to taking on new commitments.
We have the ability to decide quickly if an opportunity is right for us or not.
Just like knowing what to say yes or no to, knowing our priorities can help us decide quickly if an opportunity is right for us. Once you are aware of your priorities, often you can make a quick assessment of an opportunity to see if it’s right for you.
Many times we are presented with amazing opportunities that would be hard to turn down. However, our initial gut reaction will tell us whether those opportunities are right for us during our current season of life. Listen to your gut and check in with your priorities. It may be best to turn down an opportunity instead of sacrificing something else for it.
We can set better goals.
I’ve already mentioned this, but knowing our priorities can help us set more realistic and achievable goals. When it came time to set goals for 2020, I decided to list out eight priority areas of my life. Then I set goals based on those priorities.
While I have not achieved all of those goals (it’s only June, though!) I have made significant progress. In fact, I’ve made more progress this year than any other because these goals are very important to me. And the reason they are important to me is that they are tied to my priorities.
So, if you are struggling with achieving your goals, I suggest you define your priorities first.
I can hear you now, “Well, that’s all fine and good, Jennifer? But how do I go about defining my priorities?”
I’m glad you asked!
Over the course of the next three weeks, I’ll share in detail how you can go through the process to define your priorities. Don’t worry! It’s not complicated, I promise. I’m taking three weeks to go through the steps with you slowly so you can be assured that you are truly figuring out what’s most important to you.
Oh, and did I mention there will be a free workbook involved? Yes! I’m working on a printable workbook you can use to help define your priorities. So be sure to look for that in next week’s post.
Before I leave you today, I want to assure you that knowing your priorities is not a scary thing. And don’t feel like you have to define them perfectly. Your priorities will change with each season of your life. You won’t be stuck with these priorities forever.
Do you know your priorities for your current season of life? Leave a comment below and share what they are.