Get Your Priorities Straight
Why priorities are critical
The priorities eKit is absolutely the indisputable foundation for all good time management. I know that sounds like a huge claim, but it’s true. Here’s why—Until you care clear about your priorities, no matter how efficiently or effectively you get things done, you’ll be wasting your time because you’ll be working on the wrong tasks.
Without clear priorities, not only will you waste your time, but you’ll:
Fall prey to everyone else’s priorities
Resent never getting to do what matters most to you
Feel as if life is passing you by
Struggling with saying ‘no’ and then later feel trapped for having said ‘yes’
Lack joy (even if you accomplish tasks) because they won’t be ones that truly matter to you.
Well, if any of that sounds familiar, then you are in the right place.
We’ve helped thousands of people escape that pit and embrace a life
· Enjoy the activities that matter most to you
· End your day feeling accomplished
· Awake feeling excited
· Make a meaningful difference with your life
· Move towards your goals, rather than putting them on hold
· And much, much, more
How to know & live into your priorities
STEP 1: Identify Your Purpose
Complete the Prioritise Worksheet using the instructions provided on page 10 of this guide. If you have questions, just watch our ‘priorities instructional video. Once you have completed the worksheet, take time to consider how well you live out your top 10 values. DO your daily activities align with you stated priorities? If you have a to-do list, how many tasks on your to-do list represent your highest values?
STEP 2: Program yourself to win
Programming yourself to win is super important—you must posisiotn your highest values so that they are readily present in your mind, if they’re going to shape your actions. Here are two quick and easy methods to condition yourself to effortlessly make choices from your highest values.
First, post your priorities prominently and repeat them out loud daily. Do so until you can repeat them without hesitating even slightly. You want these strongly present in your mind, so they function as a filter for your choices.
Second, brainstorm five to seven items for each of your top 10 values. For example, if ‘learning’ is one of your highest values, you might list: listen to books on tape while driving to work, take an online class about a subject I love, ask a friend to show me how to do something I have always wanted to do, etc.
STEP 3: Plan and Track Your ‘Wins’
Review your day and record three ‘wins’ for the day each evening. A win can be any activity, large or small, that expresses your highest values. For example, one evening I wrote down the following wins. The words in parenthesis indicate the value associated with each activity.
This list is going to be needed for your next exercise. So if you haven’t brainstormed yet, do so now.
Wins for today
· Hanging out with my daughter after she got off of work and laughing hard with her about silly things we found on the internet (family)
· Making it back to hot yoga (health)
· Taking a twenty minute nap (health)
ALSO, LIST THREE ‘WINS’ YOU ANTICIPATE FOR THE NEXT DAY AND WRITE THOSE DOWN, FOR EXAMPLE
Wins I am looking forward to
· Visiting the park by my house for a short walk (nature & health)
· Reaching my sales goal for this week (success)
· Having dinner with Scott (friendship)
Be gracious to yourself when reviewing your day. If you didn’t experience the ‘wins’ you anticipated, just examine your day until you find three activities that fulfilled your highest values.
You also want to review your day graciously because this exercise isn’t about performance. Planning and tracking wins is all about bringing awareness to how you are or aren’t living into your values.
NOTE: For those of you who use The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner, if you’re
1. Failing to review your Prioritise Worksheet regularly.
When I first started using The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner it wasn’t unusual for me to complete the Prioritize page and complete the Purpose page only to never look at them again, until a new quarter began and I started a new planner. This was a huge mistake. If you don’t position your priorities squarely in your conscious mind, you’ll continually squander you time on low priority tasks. Practice the three simple steps shared above and you will avoid this trap.
2. Not leveraging micro-actions.
Micro-actions are very small action steps that can be done in a matter of moments or minutes. People often overlook microactions when considering ideas for daily wins. For example, if you value health, a micro-action might be choosing to drink a half liter glass of water first thing in the morning or choosing to take the stairs Instead of an elevator. Small steps lead to big change. For example, imagine the impact you could make on your family if everyday you intentionally spoke encouraging words.
Frequently asked questions
How often should I redo the Priorities worksheet?
The Prioritize Worksheet is one of several life evaluation tools we include in The 7 Minute
Life™ Daily Planner which is a quarterly planning tool. If you’re not using a daily planner, we
encourage you to complete the Prioritise Worksheet at least quarterly. Core values typically do
not shift radically. However, significant life changes, such as getting married, moving, or having
a health crisis will reshape your priorities.
What about values not listed on the sheet?
The Prioritize Worksheet is intended to facilitate you determining your highest values, but of
course, you are not limited to the seventy-five values listed on the worksheet. Add values to
this list or adapt some currently on the sheet as needed. What’s important is that you reflect
upon and record your ten highest values, so they can help you choose high value activities.
How do I decide in what order my priorities should be ranked?
Ranking your priorities is not an exact science. Don’t over think it. Go with your first
impressions. Most people tend to readily recognize two are three values that are undeniably
at the top. Also, they struggle with deciding the last two or three, because they are often times
choosing which values will make the cut. Again, don’t over think the ranking. What’s crucial is
recognizing what is most important for you so you can eliminate low value tasks and replace
them with much higher value activities.
Step 1: Read and prioritise
Scan the 75 Priorities listed on the worksheet and think about what each one means in
your life. After you read the list, check the values that are most important to you. Some will
stand out more than others. This first scan might include fifteen to twenty-five values. As
you read the list, consider how the words make you feel.
Step 2: Organise your priorities
Review the list a third time and narrow down your values by choosing the words that seem
most important. This list can only include your Top 10 Priorities.
Step 3: Simplify your priorities
Now, prioritise your top 10 priorities ranking them with numbers 1 through 10, with 1 being
your Top Priority.
Organise your thoughts, organise your life...
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