When we talk about time management, the truth of the matter is that we all have the same number of hours in the day. Yet, some of us finish mountains of work and projects while others complain they ran out of time. What's the difference between the two scenarios? It's all about priorities.
A priority is the concern, interest or desire that comes before all others. So maybe it isn't time management at all. Maybe it's really managing ourselves. Discovering your priorities is an exercise everyone should access. Once you know your priorities, you can choose to keep them on top, change to get them to be on top or do nothing at all.
Discovering our priorities begins by asking yourself; "What do I want my life to look like? How do I want to spend my time?" Now remember, you have to look at both your professional and your personal life to determine how you want it to be. And, are you creating and reaching your goals while confusing them with your priorities?
Think of it this way, goals can be checked off your To Do List once you achieve them; priorities, cannot. But, you can create activities that combine them both. Once you know your priorities, you can attach them to activities that you are probably already doing. When I began my career in sales, my children were my number one priority.
As a single mom, their well-being was more important than anything else, but I still had to support them emotionally and financially. What I did was take out a blotter sized calendar and create our month together. I put everything that was important to them on the calendar first.
Since they were both in sports, I had their games on the calendar and never missed a game. They were both in private schools and I volunteered there so that was on the calendar. Of course, doctor and dentist appointments were on the calendar as well, but that wasn't important to them.
Once I could see where and when I needed to be with them, then I created my work schedule for my sales appointments. I could clearly see where my optimum times were to be on the road so that it didn't interfere with their schedules; subsequently, I didn't feel rushed. I have shared my calendar idea with sales professionals everywhere.
Not only are your priorities made clear with this method, but those who are members of your priority list see that they have a place on your calendar! Simply saying you have priorities with no intent of making something your priority is as bad as setting a goal and not doing anything to get you there.
And, giving everything you are doing equal importance and value is not realistic either. By not identifying your priorities you will feel overwhelmed and unable to complete anything on time or with the importance it should really have. Don't use your lack of defining your priorities as an excuse for not getting anything done.
It's time to sit yourself done and start creating a list. Defining what your priorities are is an important step in balancing your life. We all know that time is our most limited resource, as time does not renew itself. Once we spend a day, it's gone forever. If we waste that day by investing our time in actions that don't produce the results we want or neglect spending time with those that really matter, that loss is permanent.
Once those 24 hours are behind us, it's gone. We need to invest our time wisely which begins with our priorities, which enables you to do and be your best on a somewhat consistent basis. If we can clearly define our priorities, we can use them to keep us focused and not be subject to the 'shiny object syndrome' to which so many of us fall victim.
When we are clear with our priorities, we are clear with our plan. Defining your goals and implementing actions to align them with your priorities on a consistent basis, you will see greater productivity, better relationships and a much more focused sense of purpose.
Feeling overwhelmed and off balance in your daily life is largely the result of not living in tandem with your priorities. Since over 45 percent of our behaviors are habitual, often times we are on auto-pilot and not worrying about consequences or alternatives to our actions.
In order to gain control over overwhelming feelings, and to start to regain balance, priorities must be assessed first. Since often priorities change depending on circumstances, make sure you review as often as necessary. Begin to think about some of the activities you are doing in your day.
Are you doing it because it is something you chose to do, or is it something that has just become habit? When you attach your goals to your priorities it will take you to what's important to you at this point in your life. As women, we still believe we need to wear that cape with the big "S" on it. The truth of the matter is we put that in storage a long time ago. But the question still remains can a woman have it all? Probably just not all at once.
About the Author
Judy Hoberman, President of Selling In A Skirt- International Speaker, Trainer, Coach and Mentor. Her 30 years in sales has given her the knowledge and sense of humor about how men and women sell, work and live differently will enlighten you in learning how both genders can support each other's successes in a more productive way. Judy's mission to help her clients live the S.K.I.R.T. philosophy-Standing Out, Keys to Success, Inspiring Others, Results Oriented and Time Management while having fun.