Setting Priorities

Last week on Tuesday, I posted the “4 If’s of Priorities.” Today, let’s take a moment to look at setting priorities.

We have been told in church all of our lives that our priority list is to look like this:

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Church
  5. Work
  6. Hobbies and everything else

That is not a bad list. It is simply too cliche and broad and is difficult to know how it applies to our daily schedules.

In managing our time according to our priorities, we must start with our priorities. This sounds simple and obvious, but is often not the way we approach time and our daily lives. Too often, we end up just going with the flow of the day and spend our time reacting instead of intentionally setting our agenda. This not only leads to inefficiency and stress, it causes us to miss out on so many great opportunities.

The truth is, when we live in the reaction of each moment, we are not free. We are bound to circumstance and like a feather caught in the wind being carried along wherever. There is a huge difference between the effect of the wind on a sailboat and a feather. Set aside the size difference for a moment and realize what sets the sailboat apart is intention. The sailboat captain can harness the wind to go any direction he wants, even the opposite direction. The feather, however, is at the mercy of the wind and can only go where it is blown.

We must live our lives like the sailboat captain. We must have intention and a plan in order to arrive at the destination we desire. This is true in every area of our life.

After we determine that our walk with God and our relationship with family are the highest priorities in life, we must then look at everything else and start getting specific. When setting our priorities so we can put a plan together for our schedule we have to ask ourselves some questions:

  • What is the most important thing I do that adds value to others and my company/organization?
  • What do I offer in talent, knowledge, and skill that is unique in my work context?
  • What am I doing that someone else could or should be doing?
  • What do I need to learn/add to my knowledge/skill set in order to add greater value to others and my company/organization?
  • What relationships (outside family) do I have that add value to my life while also adding value to theirs?
  • What relationships (outside family) do I have that are draining me and others?
  • What wastes the most time in my schedule each day and week?
  • When do I have the greatest sense of fulfillment and purpose each week?
  • What are my responsibilities and commitments currently?
  • What activities and tasks does a “normal” week involve now?

Once these are answered, you can begin narrowing down the priorities into categories and placing them in the right order which we will look at in the post next Tuesday.

What would you add to the list of questions above?

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