6 Signs that your Priorities are more OFF Track than you Think
It’s not about HAVING time, it’s about MAKING time.
When is the last time you said “I am too busy to do x” or “I don’t have time for y”?
I am too busy to go to the gym.
I don’t have time to start a business while working full time.
I am too busy to date someone.
I don’t have time to eat healthy.
Fair enough. You are right. You ARE too busy to do these things. Too busy with other things. Other things that are MORE important to you. Other things that are REALLY your priority. Maybe not on first sight, but deep down they are.
Now I can’t tell you what your priorities should be. That’s your job.
But I can tell you how to know if your priorities are OFF track. No matter what you priorities are.
So if you nod at any of these 6 signs, you might want to rethink your priorities.
1. You don’t know your Top 3 Goals
How on earth are you supposed to know the right path when you have no idea where you want to go? Setting goals that are important to you is the first step to getting your priorities straight. Once you know your top 3 goals for the next 6 – 12 months it becomes easy to prioritise everything in your life. You only ever need to ask yourself: Is this helping me achieve my goals, not impacting my goals at all or actively destroying my efforts to achieve my goals?
2. You get Distracted by Shiny Objects
Priorities are all about choosing one thing over another. If you say “YES” to everything, your priorities are non existent. If you say “YES” to the wrong things, you go against your actual priorities. Living life aligned with your priorities requires you to say “NO” over and over again. And this includes this shiny little objects that the instant-gratification monkey is holding. Shiny little objects come in many forms: obvious instant-gratification activities like watching Netflix or going partying instead of working on your goals, but also more subtle types like meetings, calls, articles or online courses that could somehow potentially help you in achieving your goals.
The key to avoiding the shiny object syndrome is this: Don’t ask yourself if something could help your goals, ask yourself if it is the ONE thing with the potentially highest impact on achieving your goal! Newsflash: it is most likely not an external opportunity but the most uncomfortable task on your to-do list.
3. You are not doing your MIT early in the day
If you start your day with fuzzing around, checking your emails and chatting at the coffee machine, you’ll most likely find it hard to gather the focus and motivation to tackle your most important projects later in the day.
It doesn’t matter WHEN you wake up. It matters more what you do with the first 1/3 of your day. Putting in the work towards your goals will help you win the day early. However, postponing your most important tasks until later in the day will dramatically increase the likelihood of not getting them done at all.
4. You are not Proactively Blocking Time for your Priorities
Not planning your week is bad. Planning your week without your priorities in mind is even worse. It means you are able to handle everything “on your plate” but you won’t actually make progress towards your own goals, because you are too busy attending to other people’s priorities.
Your priorities are all about YOU and your goals. Unless you proactively block time for them and consistently choose to prioritise them over less important things, you are in a reactive state where you are only following everyone else’s priorities.
5. You can’t tell the Difference between Urgent and Important
Have you heard of the Eisenhower or Urgent vs. Important Matrix? It is a really powerful tool can 10x your effectiveness. It consists of 4 quadrants that classify your daily activities according to two parameters: level of urgency and level of importance. For most people it looks like this:
The most effective people spend 80% of their time in quadrant II of the Urgent-vs.-Important Matrix. This allows them to pro-actively work on new opportunities and high-leverage projects instead of spending all their time reacting to pressing issues and other people’s needs. As a result they are able to make significant progress towards their goals, actively prevent crisis from happening and lead a more balanced, calm and focused life. The most ineffective people on the other hand, spend most of their time in quadrant III and IV, thinking they are in quadrant I.
6. You Don’t Measure the Effectiveness of your Efforts
Whether losing weight is your goal or not, is up to you. But which methods to use to get there is a different story. Have you heard of the saying “your abs are made in the kitchen”? This is a classic example for off-track priorities when it comes to weight-loss. You might spend hours in the gym but if you eat the wrong food, you won’t get where you want to be. The same goes for other areas of your life: Choose your own goals, but make sure to have a way to measure the effectiveness of the strategies you use to get there.
Another example: In my business, building my email list is a priority, but which tactics and projects to prioritise should be based on what is working and not what I feel like doing.
ARE YOU READY TO UPGRADE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY?
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