Let me tell you a little secret. You can’t do it all, and you can’t have it all. We are all limited to 24 hours per day with only so much energy to accomplish things during that time.
When it comes to success, it’s important to become good at prioritization. The idea of choosing what to do when and what to focus on “right now” comes into play in a few different ways.
Prioritization When Setting Goals
The first area to use prioritization is when we define our unique version of success and begin the goal-setting process. While we may have ideas and ambitions, not all of them are feasible. Maybe you’d like to be an Anthropologist, but there simply isn’t a big market for that occupation. Instead, you focus on and prioritize something else that’s important, exciting, and attainable. Maybe it’s teaching high-school culture and society, or maybe you become a museum curator.
You want to also prioritize goals for different areas of your life. If you’re just starting out in business, you may spend more time and energy at building your business rather than with your family. Eventually, that will change, and you’ll shift your focus to strengthening the relationship with your family. Being able to prioritize what’s most important right now helps you get things done without feeling too guilty about it.
Prioritization Based on Biggest Impact
Once you’ve determined what your goals are and what milestones you need to reach to make those goals a reality, it’s time to pick what will have the most impact and what will move you ahead more than anything else. Let’s say it’s a personal goal of becoming debt free. You have a fixed amount of money to spend each month on reducing any debt, and so you prioritize where you put that money. By starting with the debt that has the highest interest first, you can make the most progress. In this example, it’s easy to determine where to spend your money. But, it’s not always easy to see where your efforts would have the most significant impact on other goals.
Take some time to think about this, get advice from a mentor or peer, and keep an eye on your effectiveness. You will get a better feel for prioritizing to make the biggest impact over time.
Prioritization Based on Your Environment
We don’t live in a vacuum, and life isn’t always as easy as we would like, which forces us to pick and choose wisely. Working on what’s most important to you and what you feel will have the biggest impact isn’t always possible.
For example - Let’s say one of your definitions of success is to move to a nicer neighborhood and into a bigger house. That will involve selling your home, and to make sure you get the best price possible, you want to do some major decluttering, cleaning, and some minor renovations. Your goal for this week may be to repaint the bedroom. Then your kid gets sick with a stomach bug. Painting the bedroom is no longer feasible. So you adjust and do a little kitchen decluttering as you also tend your child.
This is where we must understand that sometimes our priorities may change or shift based on our circumstances and our environment. It happens, and it’s ok.
Do what you can and get back to what you perceive as the highest priorities when it’s feasible.
Do you prioritize the things in your business and your life? What strategies are you using that work best for you?