Choices, Decisions. But First, Priorities:
One of the biggest ideas around decision making is how we address competing priorities in our daily lives. Anyone even slightly interested in the personal development space might have heard about the Eisenhower matrix of Productivity that helps us assign an order to our to-do list based on the urgency and importance of tasks.
The idea is simple. You have a long check list of things to cross off. So, you can begin working on it by assigning the items priorities based on importance and urgency.
Don’t get me wrong, this works just fine, but it’s not just as thorough as real life needs it to be.
Our Families And Our Children:
The fact of the matter is, no one ever went to the grave wondering if they should have worked harder. And without prioritizing our children and our families, our fights for social justice and our cries for social enterprise might mean nothing.
When we prioritize our wellbeing, and our family’s, we have an incentive to make a greater impact on the way we work and live as a community. We can be more productive, make faster decisions, communicate effectively and above all put that dent in the universe that so many of us aspire to.
The point is if we don’t prioritize, someone else will set the agenda for us. If you’ve been too busy to notice, Big Tech is already setting our daily agenda based on their bottom line. We have become intellectual hoarders: Curating our emails, podcasts, Instagram posts, sharing our favorite dances from Tiktok, hiding our friends’ updates on Facebook, updating our “watch later” on YouTube, perusing our “recommendations” on Netflix – perfecting our online presence all the time.
So, How Must We Prioritize:
Firstly, delegate like your life depends on it. Draw a line when it comes to answering emails and texts in the night, create your own digital curfew. Create a border control in your home. There must be some places where there’s no place for devices or distractions. Unbusy ruthlessly. Seek an accountability partner. And hold yourself accountable to them.
There’s no doubt email and our communication tools are a necessity in the modern world. Planning events, coordinating family gatherings, sending a quick note to a loved one who lives far away – the advantages are endless. However, we often forget that no one is tying our productivity to the number of seconds it took us to respond to an “urgent” email or text.
Of course sometimes, priorities can’t stick. What if your boss needs something that turned from a priority to urgent in a matter of minutes? You have to drop everything else to attend it. And, in the aftermath, we will get back to our list of whatever are still relevant tasks to be addressed.
How Materialism Sabotages Our Values:
When we speak and act our personal truth and values, we’re living in an authentic way. We begin to live in a “No conflict” zone, where our thoughts, words and our actions are aligned. When we know what we stand for, prioritizing for what feels right becomes easy. Such clarity helps us with our action plans for our goals.
Our priorities can ensure that our goals stay actionable and true to what we believe in. Of course, we can keep reiterating based on their relevance to our changing times.
When we prioritize money, fame and possessions over other fulfilling aspects of life, it creates a paucity of time. Because we are constantly competing with others to level up, we feel exhausted and burnt out. It’s better to understand how others think and aspire as success and if it fits into our definition of what makes a great life.
Watch Your Words, They Become Actions:
Saying Yes, when you really meant to say No. That seems to be one big way we self-sabotage. And then comes the fretting and the regretting of the decision to stay on other people’s agenda. But, why can’t we say No in the first place? We want to liked, we want to be nice to those who love us and depend on us, and more over we fear repercussions if we don’t meet obligations. But, what are we really afraid of? Why can’t we manage our expectations better?
Learn to prioritize on tasks that value your time and your wellbeing first. Come up with 4 to 5 non-negotiables in a day. Think about the crucial battles you want to pick to get through the day productively. Everything else must AND can wait.
Secure Your Own Mask:
If there are two choices, equally uncertain, why not choose happy instead of unhappy. Similarly, learn to define yourself. You’re not your stress, your worries or your overwhelm. You’ve got this!
Letting go is a big part of reconsidering your priorities. Drop things off the list. Learn to let go off tasks that no longer enrich your soul and those relationships that have just turned toxic. Declutter radically. Say no to energy vampires like gossip, hate, bigotry and those who indulge in them.
Start by asking yourself these questions about any pending task or new task you take up.
- How much of me will this task take? What will happen if I never get to it?
- What is the greatest return of my time and effort?
- What will give me the greatest reward on this?
Start With A Life Audit:
The bottom line is that time is the best leveling field for humanity. It doesn’t discriminate if we’re billionaires or poor. So, instead of struggling to manage our time every day, we can start by assessing our priorities.
And it’s perfectly Ok to keep reevaluating every few months or years. After all, we’re humans, and our needs and our wishes can change according to our changing reality.
Research clearly shows that how we spend our time rather than our money shows us how happy we can be. It means, and of course, if we have the financial wiggle room to do so, we must do what we like and not really what others expect of us. Pick your life’s rocks and move on, ignore the gravel and the sand. They’re just filling up your time mindlessly.
After all, it’s our life. And by any estimate, we’ve got only one.
Still not sure how to prioritize? Imagine it’s your eulogy tomorrow. How much time have you got??