Priorities - do you have them?
Or are you just busy?
March 30, 2022, Dina-Marie Weineck
What is it that you really want? What is important to you? And are you putting your money and time towards what's important? Or are you a victim to your own circumstances?
Whenever I coach clients, especially entrepreneurs and leaders of organizations, we look at this one universal truth:
Ultimately, a leader’s ability to realize the vision they’ve so carefully laid out comes down to two things:
how they spend their time
how they spend their money.
Leaders are busy…managing a staff, cashflow, business partners, calls from banks and accountants, insurances, travel, etc. If you’re not careful, these things can take up ALL of your time. You might have heard yourself exclaim: “There’s just not enough time in the day!”
Now, as your company grows, you’ll naturally want to learn how to delegate so that most of your time is being spent within what Gay Hendricks calls Zone of Genius. But even as a one-person business owner, there is a crucial distinction that could make the difference between success and failure of your business:
Important versus Urgent Priorities
As a leader, you want to be clear on your ‘important’ priorities and make an unwavering commitment to what’s important. Doing so leads to a designed future.
On the other hand, if you allow the never-ending tail of urgent things that want to be taken care of right this moment to reign your life, you’ll inevitably find yourself stuck in a default future…victim to your circumstances.
The perceived lack of time and money can soon dough tail into being an excuse for just about anything:
- I don’t have enough time.
- We don’t have the resources to build this organization.
- That’s just not in the cards right now.
- Right now, I just can’t dedicate the time to growing this organization because I’d run out of money and I don’t want to solicit donations.
- We need to wait for more money to come in before we make that high ROI investment.
- I couldn’t possibly ask anyone to make a commitment to this right now.
In other words, you use the perceived scarcity of time and money as a scapegoat for why your vision doesn’t manifest.
The cure? Take a look at how you’re defining your priorities, start creating a designed future and super charge your actions from that place.
Question for you:
If I were to look at your calendar, would I be able to tell what is important to you and what in the future you are committed to? Would there be ample time blocked off on your calendar to safeguard your most important projects? Or would I just see a bunch of work that urgently needs to get handled? Are you just ‘swamped’ all the time?
Similarly, if I were to look at your credit card statements, would I be able to tell what is important to you? Or would I see a bunch of random charges, distractions, splurges?
If you were to live your life, fill your calendar, charge your credit card with only the urgent things in life, you’d be busy until the end of your days. Doing taxes, calling the doctor, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, running errands, trying to make the boss happy, etc.
And sometimes, in fact, we do have to tend to these urgent priorities first. But we can’t let them reign our lives and how we run it.
If you were, on the other hand, to structure your life around the important priorities in your life – creating space for what is important to you within your budget and calendar – suddenly, you’d be the boss of your own life…and an excellent leader of your organization, if you’d want to.
Typically, the nature of important priorities is that they are not time-bound. The only deadline is your happiness running low…and lower…and lower. Important might be a long-term project, a life-long dream, running a marathon, or bettering your mental health. All things that aren’t necessarily urgent – they might never be. But if you make them important, you might just super charge your life with what really matters. And before long, even doing taxes becomes important because that is part of the business you’ve now created space to establish.
So, as you set your schedule for the next week, maybe pause and evaluate which of your priorities are important to you, and which are simply urgent. Then structure your days around what’s important.
Finally, ask yourself, what do you need to do, say, or create, in order to safeguard what’s important?