How good are you at prioritising your activities?
- How good are you at prioritising your activities?
- How skilled are you at sifting the important from the urgent?
- What gets de-prioritised in favour of tasks with broader stakeholder consequences?
- Which activities to you routinely cherry pick and which ones do you leave languishing at the bottom of your to-do-list due to little excitement or lack of a deadline?
How long will you wait before these tasks reach the front of the queue? How long is long enough? What might bring them forward?
Often a deadline expedites an activity. But, what if there are important tasks requiring our efforts but no immediate deadline or consequence? What might those responsibilities be?
- What is your current position on personal affairs such as health, life or house insurance?
- What about wills or power of attorney?
- How trifling do you find warranties or white goods insurance?
- What value would that check-up at the doctor’s office bring?
Clearly we have an entourage of staff that deal with these things for us (often while they are preparing our superfood smoothies and polishing our cars). However, occasionally these tasks can fall to us and the temptation to favour the immediate, or more engaging, can be quite compelling.
What if you received a small signal or message, asking you to focus your gaze on a particular lifestyle issue or to attend to some long-overdue documentation? What would the message look like? Perhaps, a tapping sound coming from the washing machine that won’t seem to go away; a house a few streets away is broken into by a chancing thief; perhaps you note a small but consistent pain somewhere on your body.
Not big enough to stop you in your tracks but a message all the same
Who then: checks the washing machine warranty and considers insurance? Clarifies the terms of the house cover? Makes an appointment to see the GP…. and keeps it?
You get the idea: The washing machine starts sounding aggressive and is threatening to move into the hallway; another house on another street gets broken into; the pain grows or expands.
Your attention is captured, you put the task on a list, somewhere
What needs to happen for the message to beat down your front door? Does the washing machine start smoking? Do you see the thief running away from the scene of your break in? Do you find yourself immobile and calling 999?
The trouble with time is that we can only spend it. And, if we’re relaxed about our spending habits, we find that we can be super generous with spending it on others, or wasting it on un-necessary and meaningless activities. Without clear parameters we also lead others to believe that they can spend it for us.
What about consequences, positive or otherwise? Without any immediate consequences, an important task can be deferred in favour of the tyranny of the urgent. What if it were urgent? What would that look like and what would you wish you had done?
As we move from the Summer months and into the closing quarter of the calendar year, don’t de-prioritise your intentions in favour of the busyness of the daily schedule. View your tasks through the lens of importance (consequence) vs. urgency (time). Perhaps roll forward a few months or years and find out what your future self is advising you to pay attention to now.
Tune into the messaging frequency – TAP TAP, KNOCK KNOCK, BANG BANG
Not quite a lifestyle Spring-clean, think of it more as an Autumn audit!
Credit to our epic buddy from across the pond, Bo Parfet. Get in touch if you’d like support prioritising activities.