LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH A PURPOSE:
6 STEPS TO SET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
Live life with a purpose. But where to start? Do you know what is high-priority for you? Or do you feel like everything is high-priority and don’t know what to do first? Or, are you just too plain busy to ever get to the high-priority stuff?
Without clear priorities, it’s difficult to manage your time and make progress on your purposes. You might even be overwhelming yourself by trying to take on too many responsibilities.
The truth is that our ability to move forward and accomplish our goals often depends on what we decide to prioritize. Once you’re clear on your priorities, you’ll be able to make better and quicker decisions that guide your life choices.
Here are six simple steps, let’s start.
1. Name your values.
Often instead of exploring our own values, we default to the values of our family or culture. Take the time to consider what’s important to you, what you stand for, and what you believe in.
Avoid focusing on external rewards, such as “money, status, or others’ approval.” Avoid “basing your priorities on what you believe you ‘should’ do.”
2. Do the “maintain, improve, change” test.
Write down what you want to maintain, improve or change across the various domains of your well-being: relationships, health, finances, work, spirituality, and personal life.
Then go through what you’ve written, and create specific actions. Take this example, because finding a new job is a priority, you decide to schedule a coffee date each week with colleagues and mentors to network. Because spending quality time with your partner is a priority, you spend 30 minutes together after work — no distractions.
3. Test-drive different styles.
To live based on your priorities, test out different ways of working with goals or maintaining habits. Try something new for 30 to 90 days, such as learning a new language or training for a race. Or start small — “what we call ‘tiny habits.’” For instance, your goal is to build a reading habit. You start by reading a single page or even a single paragraph each night.
4. Take stock of your job.
At work, priorities are placed upon you. Ask these questions so you can set priorities that meet both your personal values and the company’s vision and goal.
Sometimes, new priorities come up in the middle of the year. When this happens, talk to your supervisor about which tasks must be done first and which can wait.
Nowadays, typical workers are experiencing way too much burnout and this leads to dissatisfaction and disillusionment. In order to get our of this situation, coordinate with your manager or co-worker. Share your concerns and be transparent about it. Always go back to your why or reason of being there in the first place and restart from that point.
Cut out the urgent for what’s important. Urgent tasks are often related to someone else’s goals. Important tasks “are in service of your values and longer term mission.” Urgent but unimportant tasks might be a last-minute invite to a networking event or checking social media.
The goal is to become more intentional and protective of your time, rather than reactive and deleting important mental energy and focus you need to work on the ‘important’ things.
5. Contemplate before committing.
Ask yourself, “Do I want to do this? How does it meet the intentions I am working on? Do I have the time and energy it requires to do this project? What would I need to give up if I don’t have the time and energy it requires?”
Taking time for self-inquiry allows us to make an informed decision. We’re being able to then take ownership of our part and do the best that we can.
6. Separate priorities by season.
During each season we tend to focus on a different area in our life, such as career, relationships, play, or mastery of new skills. For instance, in November and December, we shift from working to being present in our relationships and family gatherings. Plan ahead of time so your life will not be shaken with different energies. Be on top of these things.
During other seasons we work hard with little to no rest or play. In order for us to be there fully in all season of our lives, plan ahead.
It can be hard to stop living on autopilot and say no. But it also means having power over your life — a power available to all of us. With that, we can stay committed to our values and live our life with meaning and purpose.
Managing Competing Priorities
There are only so many hours in the day. If we spend all day doing our top priority, then we'll have no time for our second priority. But if we spend an equal amount of time on each priority, we'll move forward so slowly on all of them that we may get frustrated and give up. So knowing our priorities isn't always the solution to sticking to our priorities.
Sometimes it can be easiest to focus on a few high-priority items at a time. For example, maybe you spend one month really focusing on your family but the next month, you need to prioritize more work. It’s OK to try to find a balance that works for you and your goals and experiment as you go.
Taking Action on Your Priorities
Another thing to consider is what things make it easier or harder for us to stick to our priorities. For example, are there people who make it difficult to stick to your priorities? Are there situations that make it hard to stick to your priorities? Or, are there things about you that make it hard to stick to your priorities? What boosts your self-motivation? By taking the time to better understand your own unique challenges, you’ll also better understand what solution might best work for you.
Do you want to take a bigger step towards a more meaningful life by understanding your priorities? Start with the right status in life. How? Be part of a community who encourages you to unleash the best in you by doing your purpose in life. Join our growing family, Live Ur Purpose Facebook Group.
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