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Setting The Best Priorities

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When it comes to taking on a new task what do you do first? Good question, where do you start? How about where that project will fit in your schedule? Where will that project fit into your life? Will it fit into your day? Should you take up this project at all?

All these questions are important to ask yourself. These are questions that help you layout the who’s what’s when’s where’s and why’s of any new project or passion that comes into your life. You need to know how this project of yours will fit.

What are Priorities?

Let’s look first at what a priority is. This way we are all on the same page and can follow my line of thinking when it comes to laying out your priorities and being able to see when you have a priority out of sync with what you have laid out.

The fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important

Google

In layman’s terms, it is the order of importance you place on the events in your life. Those events could be having a clean house, or it could be reading a book. You may say your wife’s feelings and relationship are the most important yet when was the last time you went out on a date? Spending time with your son could be claimed to be important yet when was the last time you went out fishing with him? Your actions show what your real priorities actually are.

Why are priorities important?

Having priorities is the order you put in your life. If you don’t have priorities and say you just go where the wind takes you then you will arrive somewhere but it isn’t necessarily where you were wanting to be. If you are trying to start your own business you have to have some sort of priorities laid out so that you can make headway.

There is no way to take massive action on any part of your life. If you are just tubing down the river of life. True, it is easy and you can be comfortable but you will also find yourself in places you really don’t want to be. To be able to make headway in the direction you want to go you have to have your priorities clear and straight.

book with sticky notes
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

When you don’t have any priorities you run the risk of things falling through the cracks. Say your calendar is full and you want to start writing a book. WIthout your priorities set you may start hard and fast on the book but eventually it gets pushed out of your schedule. Then again you may have date night with your daughter pushed out of your mind.

If you set your priorities you can then decide how important this new venture actually is, and you understand that something will have to give. Especially if you have a high margin in your life set as a priority. Because free time is the first thing you will sacrifice if it isn’t set as a high enough importance.

Different types of priorities

There are several different layers to priorities. You have the priorities for your life in the different Pillars of Relaxed Male. You can have a set of priorities for You learning, for your weight, for your Creative outlets, and what or when you will be community building. Each of those sectors can then be broken down even more.

You may have a set of priorities that are centered around family and in the family priorities, you have that you are putting your relationship with your wife over your kids. Then again you may want to put your family priorities over your work. Then again it could be the other way around.

Good example of a set of priorities are the following

  1. God
  2. Me
  3. Family
  4. Friends
  5. Work
  6. Community

Now I hear some of you commenting on the God part and you understand if you are religious. Yet I hear more of you commenting on the order of WHere you stand in the scheme of things. Many people and this could be you, who think” No I will put my family and friends before me”.

That is where you sacrifice yourself at your own expense. That in all reality does no good. Much like on an airplane you have to put your mask on before you can put on your child’s oxygen mask. You can’t do them any good if you are passed out due to a lack of oxygen.

This principle works in your everyday life. If you want to take care of your family friends and work then you have to look out for yourself first. Nobody else can do that. You have to make sure you are ready and your emotional tank if filled up for those times that your wife needs your strength. You have to have your physical abilities in order to defend a friend. You have to be able to say Boss I would like to but I can’t. To be able to help everybody first you have to put your mask on first. Yet, when your priorities are out of line you are putting on everybody else’s masks on them before yourself and you run out of gas.

Brian Tracy has some good tips on deciding what priorities to have.

  • Why am I on the payroll?
  • What are my highest value activities?
  • What are my key result areas?
  • What can I, and only I, do that if done well will make a real difference?
  • What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?

These can help you to find the priorities you are struggling to understand.

Are Your Priorities in line?

Many times we may say we have our priorities all lined out but are they really in line with what you are wanting. Perhaps you are saying one thing and doing another. You could be spouting that you put your family first yet you run every time the boss calls you into work on the weekend.

There are always new activities and events coming into your life. Are they really as important as you claim? For me, Saturdays are my creative days. Sometimes I struggle with getting the blog post written by Noon but that is OK I know that I will have it lined out and posted with pictures around noon time. From there I write my Monday Video post and podcast post. These get done. I don’t worry about the yard or getting anything in the house done until I have served my audience.

selective focus photo of flock of ducklings perching on gray concrete pavement
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

If I didn’t have those priorities set then I may finally get around to writing my blog post till around 8 pm or later. Then I am starting to be pressed from time and my blog posts will be even lower quality than what they are now.

If you want to have a goal set then you also need to set the priorities associated with that goal. IF you are running or walking every day. Then you will need to find a way to slip it into your day. It may have to be that you give up some pillow time and walk in the morning. In the summer that is probably the most effective time. While in the winter you may want to shift to later in the afternoon.

Signs that your priorities are out of sync with your life.

For example, do you put video games over carrying out the trash? Maybe you have a camping trip with the guys over the family reunion. Do you wash the dishes first or do you eat off the same plate 3 days in a row? All of these decisions are on the surface easy but how many times have you put something fun over something that may be deemed not as fun?

Granted the plates seem like a home run answer but watch your son when he is hungry but knee-deep in a Call of Duty war Zone match and he is cleaning the house. They will run down, rinse out the plate he just grabbed and throw some chimichangas on it and nuke it for a few minutes before running back up to his room.

Often we say we have something that is a high priority and in fact, we don’t do it. Your actions speak louder than your words. If you don’t have time to do something then that shows that it wasn’t a high enough priority on your list to actually want to do it.

sticky notes on board
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

So openly examine what you are doing and you are not doing. If you are not getting something done look at why. What is it that causes you to put that event or task onto a lower priority level than something else?

It could be that it is just something you don’t want to do. In that case, why did you agree to do it?

How to structure your priorities.

Best way to design and layout your priorities is to grab a sheet of paper. First, you want to decide what you want to do. List those wanna’s Date night with the wife? Write it down. Monthly camping trip with your son, perhaps? Write it down. Serve the hungry at a soup kitchen? Again write it down. Now using the structure of

  1. God
  2. You
  3. Family
  4. Friends
  5. Community

Start lining out what you want to be the most important by marking 1 beside it. Then mark a 2 by the next most important. Keep doing that till you have your list lined out from 1 to infinity. Now when you want to add something to the list decide where it will fit in. Yeah, you have to change the numbers that go after it but if you use a dry erase board it becomes a bit easier. Either way, get a visual representation of your priorities. It makes it easier to say yes and no. You can decide I am not going to work on the weekends then you can set that priority. You are going to have a high-level relationship with your wife? Then do it and don’t let other things get in your way.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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