Time management principles - Prioritising your goals

“The key is not to prioritise what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” - Stephen R. Covey

Two men were getting ready to go to work. Both men made a list (in order of priority) of how they would prepare before they arrived at work. They then set out to do their tasks and complete the list.

George’s list:

  1. Brush teeth
  2. Have a shave
  3. Have a shower
  4. Get dressed
  5. Eat breakfast
  6. Arrive at work

Jason’s list:

  1. Brush teeth
  2. Have a shave
  3. Have a shower
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Arrive at work
  6. Get dressed

Before Jason could complete his list he was promptly interrupted by the police! George on the other hand had a very successful day - It’s good to get our priorities right! When we previously looked at ‘creating a life map’, we drafted the blue print from which we could look at all our life goals and then decide our priorities. A good exercise to do is to begin to put time frames (where possible) next to your goals. Then what is also good is to break down your goals into what you plan to achieve each year, month, week and day. Yes, that means that you have to take some time to stop and think about what you’re doing from a daily to a yearly basis. The truth is that this seems like a hassle, and in reality it is so many people just won’t want to do it. But at times so does exercise and studying but you have to ask yourself ‘How prudent do I really want to be?’ Many personal development authors and coaches like Stephen Covey and Brian Tracy have a lot to share on this area of goal and priority setting, they have a lot of useful ideas to share but often the amount of information can seem like too much for the average person to remember. Hence I’m going to share a very simple and effective technique which I’ve learned - you shouldn’t easily forget this. It’s a system called the 1, 2, 3 system. You basically give 3 levels of priority to your goals:

Priority 1 - Will this directly help with the achievement of my goals
Priority 2 - Will this indirectly help with the achievement of my goals
Priority 3 - This will not affect my goals

As you begin to look at all the goals you set in the live, love, life and legacy categories, you may observe that you have set yourself quite a lot of priority 1 goals to achieve on a daily basis. In one sense this is good because it means that you have purpose and you’re actually working on your goals. But on the other hand you don’t want to be unrealistic and continuously set yourself daily goals that you never achieve. In such an instance you probably just have to make sure that you set less of your priority 1 goals at the same time. You should daily work on your priority 1 and 2 goals and fit in your priority 3 goals when you have the chance. I once heard about the technique that Mary Kay Ash (founder of the billion dollar company Mary Kay Cosmetics) used to make each day successful. Each day she would set six goals to achieve. She wouldn’t move on to the second goal until the first one was completed, she wouldn’t move onto the third goal until the second one was completed. Sounds pretty simple but by doing this she ensured that there was a constant current of daily progress and advancement in her endeavours.

A good question to ask yourself each day and week is “How are the goals and priorities I am pursuing now going to affect my future.” By doing this it helps you to always look at the things you do today as seeds of investment for the future.

God bless and protect


Quote of the week:
“In life, satisfaction is experienced when activities are brought to a state of completion. Loss of energy and loss of control are functions of incompletion. The result of completing things releases one's ability to create. Prioritize any items that need to be completed, set a completion date, then do it.” - William Arthur Ward


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