Important Priorities

Blocks of wood that spell "If not now when"

When we feel busy, some of us usually reach for a pen and write down our priorities for the upcoming week. We have an intention that we tackle that list from top to bottom, but we rarely do. Why is that?

Count every hour, because every hour counts.

Instead of planning the future, do some measuring of the past. Track what we actually spent time on last week. It’s not too far a stretch to say that the things we spent time on were our real priorities.

Our real priorities are the things we’ve done, not the things we intend to do.

Becoming more self-aware of what our real priorities have been will make us more effective at shaping what we do next. Even more powerful is the thought that we only really have one priority - what we’re doing right now. I sometimes set an alarm chime to go off every 30, 45, or 60 minutes to remind me to ask myself - am I working on the most important thing I could be right now?

If not now, when?

If you’ve got a priority, but aren’t spending time on it right now, then maybe it’s not a priority. Admitting this to yourself can be a useful technique to help you create focus and build a habit of working on your priorities.

Thanks to Trevor Timbeck for inspiring me to change the way I look at the things I think are my priorities.