As we begin to turn our focus more towards the positive things in our lives, I think it’s only natural that we start thinking about our priorities. Most of us have a lot of balls in the air: work, family, friends, hobbies, personal goals. Maybe you also have kids or school as well. Regardless, that’s a lot of balls to juggle.
At some point, no matter how good you are, you will drop something.
I know, I know…you’re superhuman. It’s okay. I like to be delusional sometimes too and believe that I can handle anything and everything – no matter how much I may already have going on in my life.
But since we aren’t superhuman, it becomes increasingly more important that we figure out which balls we can afford to drop and which balls we can sacrifice when we must dive to stop the important balls from hitting the ground. And that brings us to our thought for the week.
Thinking About Priorities
You know, I spent some time searching the web for this quote yesterday. I found it in a number of different variations, but I couldn’t seem to find anything definitive about who said it first. Please leave me a comment if you know.
“If everything’s important, nothing is.” ~Anonymous
How Many Top Priorities Do You Have?
I always chuckle to myself a little when I hear the question of top priorities. Actually, my favorite is when you ask someone for their #1 priority and they rattle off a laundry list of things. Sure, perhaps all those things are important, but which one is most important?
If you’re thinking that work, family, kids, etc can all be your #1 priority, well…let’s put this into terms that are a little more tangible so we can really break it down.
Imagine you consider two different work tasks to be your #1 priority for the day. Can you do the tasks simultaneously? If you can – as in the case of setting an update to run in the background while you complete another task – then great. They both get to be your #1, if you really insist on that. But if they can’t, all you’re doing is listing your top two priorities in lieu of assigning one more importance over the other.
Let’s go back to the example of work and family both being your top priority. What if you’re about to give one of those career-making presentations when you get a call from your daughter’s school informing you she’s seriously ill and you should come pick her up right away, but they can keep her in the nurse’s office for a while? For this example, there’s no one else you can call.
YOU must make a choice. Both work and family can’t be the most important thing to you because you will, at some point, be forced to pick between them.
Is Having Too Many Top Priorities a Cop Out?
I think a major reason we don’t assign an order of importance to all tasks or areas of our lives is because we don’t want to admit that some things just aren’t that important. Although the problem is sometimes an inability to be honest with ourselves, this is also about other people. When picking between priorities, do you ever want to tell someone else that what they need isn’t as important to you as it is to them?
I know I don’t.
So, instead, we mention a few things as being our top priorities so that no one has to feel bad, or because we don’t want to put in the effort to figure out what really is the most important. Maybe it will spare feelings in the short-term, but long-term, people will eventually realize that you’re only pretending something is your top priority.
At some point, you’re bound to realize for yourself that you’re doing things you don’t believe are that important. You might even start to resent it.
Seems like it’s in our best interests to stop sacrificing the long-term for the “right now” and just get our priorities in order already…
How Are Your Priorities?
With very few exceptions, you must assign a weight of importance to the aspects of your life. Obviously, I’m not telling you to break it down to a stupid level. I mean, if you have four children, I don’t expect you to – and I hope you don’t – rank them by order of importance. In cases like that, it’s okay to lump all the kids together and just assign them an importance number in your life as a group.
Did that make sense?
Actually, I’m not asking you to do anything today. We’re going to come back to this concept of setting priorities. I just want you to think about the various priorities in your life. If you consider all your priorities to be top priorities, does it ever cause issues when you must choose between them?
In a way, making too many things a priority devalues all of your priorities. Since so few people tend to sent clear-cut priorities, it’s no wonder so many of us our slaves to the Negativity Beast. Maybe we should work on changing that.
What do you think?
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
Photo Credit: Wikipedia, public domain
© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Using content from The Positive Piper without permission will cause the Negativity Beast to attack. BEWARE!