A Short Post About Prioritising

I do a lot of things with my life. If you follow me anywhere online, you’ll have noticed that by now.

People often ask me how I fit it all in, and one of the main ways is by prioritising intelligently.

What do I mean by that? 

Well, mainly I mean “Work out what’s most important to you, and make sure you do that before the other stuff.” But I know that’s not always easy advice to follow. There’s shit to get done, meals to make, people to see, places to go, work to do, and not all of it aligns with whatever goals you might have. That’s exactly where prioritising comes in.

Since coming back from a year off work recently, I’ve been trying to work out how I fitted everything into my life and not entirely succeeding. So the other day, faced with a growing to-do pile and a feeling of creeping despair, I decided to write stuff down in my notebook, which usually helps me to work out what I want to do.

And I came up with this, which really helped.

Instead of just writing a list of stuff I wanted to get done and then trying to organise it using guesswork, I instead started a sentence in my mind and waited for the end to pop into my consciousness.

The beginning of the sentence was:

“I didn’t get a lot done this year, but at least I…” 

and then I found the ending just kind of appeared. It seems therefore that my main priority in 2018 is publishing a book. Once I’d decided that, I cast it aside and thought ‘OK, if for some reason that doesn’t happen, what would the end of the sentence look like?’ and so I discovered that my second priority is finishing renovations on my flat, probably because sleeping surrounded by piles of all my belongings gets old fairly quickly.

And then I cast that one aside, and I carried on until I came up with no further things. In order, my priorities turned out to be:

  1. Publish a book
  2. Finish the flat
  3. Write another research paper
  4. Grow the business
  5. Stick to my walking goals
  6. Learn to drive

It helped me; perhaps it’ll help you too. What are your priorities? How do you decide what to work on next?

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