Defining your business priorities
Setting priorities is part of successful time management to make sure you complete the tasks that are most important.
Setting priorities is different from defining them. Setting priorities is part of successful time management to make sure you complete the tasks that are most important to you and your business.
But how do you know what is truly important in the first place unless you’ve stopped to define your priorities?
A priority is something that merits your attention. It’s something that you’ve previously established as personally or professionally important to you. It’s probably connected to your value system. For example, the priority to be at home on time for family dinner each night connects to my family value system.
Chances are you instinctively know your priorities. But it doesn’t hurt to:
Doing so may help you make decisions affecting your business, your life, and your family.
Consider the following suggestions on how to get your priorities straight.
Your priorities will probably stem from these value areas – time, career, family, community, health, financial and emotional. For example:
There’s no right or wrong priority. There’s no weighting system. We should never feel ashamed about our priorities. Our priorities are our life’s work and they are uniquely our own.
What matters most is that you are true to yourself by identifying and pursuing only those priorities that are really important to you.
Once you’ve identified (or come to grips with) your top priorities, don’t do anything for a few weeks. Let them marinate.
Revisit the list and see how it feels. Do you still feel strongly about these priorities? Why or why not? Be honest – you don’t want to set false priorities because your efforts and decisions going forward will be misdirected. Worse, they’ll be unfulfilling.
Make any changes to your original list of priorities and, if necessary, give this fresh list some additional time to settle.
If you’re comfortable with your list, it’s time to identify your top priorities. It’s not about weighting them or listing them as ‘number 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.’ Simply acknowledge what’s most important to you.
Prioritizing priorities is unwise because of the internal personal conflict it can create. For example, there’s no need to place a higher weighting on career advancement over family vacation time when both are valuable to you.
You may emerge with a list that looks something like this:
Priorities in place (or refreshed), you’re now ready to accept or resume work. But you’ll notice a difference in the way you go about your business – everything else fits around your priorities.
Some people schedule their priorities into their work calendar, for example – run, Mondays, 7-8 a.m.
Others simply use their priorities to:
Throughout your life your priorities will change. As we age things matter differently to us. So be sure to repeat this exercise whenever you feel a misalignment between what you’re doing and what you feel is important.