Priority: a task, person, or event regarded as more important than others. That simple definition seems so clear, but when it comes to prioritizing your priorities, it can be anything but. The thing of it is most of us have no trouble identifying our priorities. Each of us have at least handful. The problem is that identification is where most of us stop – including me. This leads to frustration when priorities overlap. That’s when I realized I need to prioritize my priorities.
Identifying Your Priorities
I would be tempted to gloss over the identification, because I don’t think most of us have too much trouble with this step. But it’s all part of the process. I’ll use myself as an example. In no particular order:
- My relationship with my husband.
- My mother.
- Helping a friend if they are in trouble.
- Maintaining this blog, A Bijou Life.
- Maintaining my other blog, Brass Tax Services.
- Creating jewelry for my Etsy Shop, Bijoubeadboutique.
- My clients.
- Marketing my Etsy Shop.
- Marketing my tax business.
- Chores around the house.
That is 10 routine priorities! Without prioritizing them, they are…., well…, just a list. No rhyme or reason as to how to manage them.
Prioritizing Your Priorities
Now we have a list of all the things we think are highly important. How to choose which is most important? What is going to be in the number one spot? What will follow? As you go through your list, try to figure out why you are putting them in the order that you do.
To begin, ask yourself, what is the foundation upon which your life is built? There is no right or wrong answer. For me, it is my relationship with my husband. But for others it might be their children, their career, education, etc.
The number 2 and number 3 position will be held by mother and my friends. Relationships with valued people will always win out for me. That said, I am fortunate enough to work for myself, and so that gives me latitude in my schedule. I can always do tax preparation at midnight if I need to, unlike a more traditional job that requires my presence during business hours.
Next? Tax returns for my clients. It is how I make my living.
The number 5 spot will be taken up by maintaining my Brass Tax Services blog. This includes writing blogs and keeping tax information up to date. The blog is designed to help me attract new clients.
Marketing Brass Tax Services – which means being social on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. (I am considering adding Twitter.)
Chores around the house. Yep. I like my surroundings tidy & organized, and so after personal relationships, and how I make my living, I need to insure my space is a comfortable and not a distraction.
Creating items for Bijoubeadboutique. My jewelry making is a hobby. I don’t do it to support myself; I do it because I like it. And while my blog, A Bijou Life, isn’t solely about my Etsy Shop, new items are part of the inspiration for the blog.
Next is blogging on A Bijou Life. I enjoy blogging – the chance to write out my thoughts, show off my handiwork, and interact with other bloggers.
Lastly, marketing my Etsy shop. Again, this is done through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and more passively through my blog, A Bijou Life.
To recap my priorities in order:
- The relationship with my husband.
- My mother.
- Friends who need help.
- My clients
- Maintaining the Brass Tax Services blog.
- Marketing Brass Tax Services.
- Chores around the house.
- Creating items for Bijoubeadboutique.
- Maintaining A Bijou Life blog.
- Marketing my Etsy Shop, Bijoubeadboutique.
Although I’m the author of this blog, in doing the exercise, I learned some things about myself. As I initially jotted down “chores around the house,” I was sure that item would remain last on the list. But in considering the list, I was surprised to find that I don’t really ever leave the chores until last. I like to get them out of the way before I get to the stuff I enjoy, like creating jewelry.
And I realized a mistake I had been making; I’ve been putting marketing my Etsy shop ahead of making new things for it. I’ve been trying to figure out why I had been doing that, and I think it is because creating jewelry is so much fun, I felt like I wanted to get the marketing done in order to get it off my mind. Since doing the exercise, I now know that when inspiration for new pieces of jewelry hits, I can ignore the marketing. It is the creative process that is the hobby; not the marketing.
What about you? How do you prioritize your priorities?