Do You Feel Like There is Way Too Much to do Every Day?
Life is full of stuff that just has to get done. Between family, career, errands, volunteer work, chores, and meals, we often end up spread too thin. We give the least of our energy to the things that are most important to us and rarely find time for things like pampering ourselves. In the meantime, we spend so much time with those urgent, in-your-face tasks that we lose sight of our goals. So, what can we do about it? How do we set priorities? Try one of the below writing exercises and see if it helps put things in perspective.
3 Tools to Help Set Priorities
1. Start at the end.
Daydream a bit about your future. Where do you want to be in one year? Five years, 10 years? Go as far out into the future as you dare, writing for a few increments in time. Think about what your family will be doing at each interval. How old are your children? Where do you live? What are you doing for a living and how much are you making? Now, take a look at your life today. Are you on track to get to that one-year vision? What changes do you need to make to get there? Now you can set priorities. List short-term goals that will help you along the way, and remove from your life the tasks that are no longer serving your goals.
2. Your ideal day.
I love this one because every time I suggest it to someone, they interpret it slightly differently and get something unexpected out of it. The basic idea is that you sit down with a little focused time and write out what your ideal day would look like. Your approach here will depend on your point-of-view. I tend to take a scheduled approach (6am wake up and drink lemon water, 6:15 yoga, 6:45 breakfast…). Some take a different perspective (I wake up pain-free, go outside to greet the day…). Either way, it’s an effective tool in identifying priorities. From here, you can pick one aspect and start taking steps in that direction.
3. Create a personal mission statement.
Writing a mission statement is a great way to identify priorities. Once completed, I recommend going a step further by auditing how you spend your time every day and whether each task is true to your mission. Your statement should be succinct and be able to be applied to every aspect of your life. Think about people you admire and what it is you admire about them. What is your purpose in life? How do you want to be remembered?
Your Life is a Garden
In his book, The Art of Stopping Time, Pedram Shojai suggests that your life is like a garden. You have room for a limited number of plants and have to decide which ones to water and which to pull. What are your priority plants? What are your weeds? Which ones are you giving your resources to?