I want to talk about priorities. We all have them. What I’m wondering is how you prioritize yours? Do you make lists, schedule due dates, and calmly proceed? Or are you frequently overwhelmed by all the things you have to do? And most problematic, do you ever get so overwhelmed that you become paralyzed?
As a child, my mom insisted that I do my homework before I could play or watch t.v. As an adult, I still abide by those values, only now I call them my “have-tos” and my “want-tos.” I try my best to do my have-tos first, and with the time leftover, I do my want-tos. I’ll admit I’m not always perfect. Sometimes I choose fun over chores. If you were judging me, you might think I occasionally have “misplaced priorities.” I’m not going to disagree.
So, let’s dive in.
Scenario One: You and your spouse have some domestic things to accomplish on Saturday. You’ve chosen to wash the car while your spouse has opted to do the laundry. So you head on over to the car wash at 9:00 a.m., expecting to come home to that Downey fresh smell. But Saturday is also college football game day. Not a priority of yours, but clearly that of your spouse.
How do we sync our priorities in our relationship?
Scenario Two: You are overwhelmed at work with deadlines. Where to begin? Do you take care of the smallest tasks first so as to get them out of the way, or do you roll up your sleeves and dig into the project that you had a nightmare about last night?
How do we prioritize our work assignments?
Scenario Three: You can’t remember the last time you got a haircut, you’ve been squinting at the television, your neck is a wreck. Do the math: you’ve clearly put your self-priorities on the back burner. I know, I know. There are only 24 hours in a day. I wonder if you actually think everyone else is more important than you?
How do we fit our own needs into our priorities?
Personally, my priorities bounce around like tennis shoes in the dryer. And like the shoes in the dryer, my priorities make a lot of noise. I happen to like things quiet, so I prefer to handle my priorities by taking care of the noisiest ones first. If I’m dealing with clients who are going through a particularly sensitive divorce, I am hell-bent on helping them. They come first. Unless, that is, I wake up with a throbbing toothache. Gotta get to the dentist before anything else. And if I’m dealing with a personal relationship situation, until I get it fixed, everything else will suffer. So that’s my system. I do my best to quiet the noise.
Relationship. Work. Self. What comes first? What comes last? I’d like to know how you decide your own priorities. Please comment.
I put the noise things on my “Have-to” list as well. I figure if a “need-to” starts making a louder noise before I can get to it, it will automatically become a “Have-to” and ends up getting taken care of. I am pretty good at keeping a lot of balls in the air at the same time. But as I am getting older, I am finding myself dropping more and more of them. So this post on priorities was a good reminder that we all go through this same struggle.
We all have tasks to do where some are more important or difficult to do than others. I believe this links hand in hand with procrastination in that if we take care of tasks as they arise even the more difficult ones will seem easier. This in my opinion makes the “have to” list less insurmountable and the “need to” daily life list more routine.