It’s almost unfair how much time we give to managing our time. We spend so much time thinking about it, talking about it, reading about it and writing about it that you’d think it must be the most important thing in our lives. And yet, those who manage their time well continue to do so while the rest of us continue to struggle. It’s as if all the wisdom on managing time is completely irrelevant when faced with the urgent pressures of real life. Here's the reality... the problem isn’t time management, the issue lies within your lack of priority management.
The Difference between Time Management and Priority Management
The first thing we need to address is the difference between time management and priority management. When we talk about managing our time, we are usually discussing how we can get more things done in less time. Time management is a means to an end—it is a tool that can help us achieve our goals. Time management is also something that can be applied to both your professional and personal life. It’s something you can use to help you get more done and make the most of your days. Priority management, however, is about organizing the things you want to do according to what is actually important. We are all guilty of spending time on things that are not important to us, so we need to be able to differentiate between what is important to us and what is not. You may have noticed that prioritizing our tasks according to their level of importance is something that is missing when we talk about time management. The only way to maximize your time is to have clarity around your priorities.
Why is Time Management BS?
We’ve already discussed how managing your time isn’t the same as priority management. So, if you’re still not convinced that managing your time is a waste of time, here are a few more reasons why you should stop wasting your time managing your time. When we focus on managing our time, we often make the mistake of looking at everything in the same way. And since most of us have a lot on our plates, we naturally choose to spend our time on the things we deem to be relevant. But when we think about time in this way, we are setting ourselves up for failure. You see, time never stops; It doesn’t know what’s relevant and what isn’t. It doesn’t know what we need to achieve or what we have to do to achieve those things. Time knows nothing. It’s something we need to be mindful of, but if we try to manage it, we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are likely moving further away from our goals by only managing our time and not our priorities.
So… why is Priority Management important?
Let’s face it; life is busy. We all have a lot on our plates and it can feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. But despite the fact that we don’t have enough time, we still have to make time for the things that are important to us. If you don't work on identifying your priorities then you will either spend your life working on other people's priorities or you will waste another day on the easy stuff.... the stuff that makes you feel busy but accomplishes nothing!
The 3-Step Process to Identifying Your Priorities
There are many different ways to identify your priorities, but they all have one thing in common; they require you to be honest with yourself. When you’re honest with yourself, you’re also being mindful and present in whatever it is you are doing at the time. It’s what keeps us centered and grounded, focused on the here and now. Identifying your priorities is a simple process that can be broken down into three different steps.
1. CLARITY. Spend time alone... without the influence of friends, family, or those you love. Remember, this is all about YOU! Dream big and find extreme clarity on what you want. Be really detailed... really specific. Don't listen to your limiting beliefs. Believe in yourself and get the vision of this goal.
2. BREAK IT DOWN. List the daily activity that moves your closer to that goal. Even if it took you 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years. What is it that you could do every day... a little at a time that would inevitably lead you to the result?
3. SET THE APPOINTMENT. Add this to your calendar as if it was a chemotherapy appointment and you had cancer. It is non-negotiable and never gets removed from the calendar - no matter what! You can move it around within the day - but you can never delete it or skip it
Managing your time is a necessary evil. We all have 24 hours in a day, and we all have to do things that take up our time. So, we can’t avoid managing our time; we just have to make sure that we are managing it as effectively as possible. That said, we all need to remember that time management is not the same thing as priority management. Time management is about managing all of the things we have to do, and priority management is about managing the things we want to do. If you want to get more done, you have to make sure that the things you are spending your time on are the things that are most important to you. This is how you live a LIFE BY DESIGN!
Shine on! xoxo
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