This month we’re talking about ways to stay focused on the things that are most important to us. Consciously setting priorities is one of the best ways we can keep our focus.

Steps for Setting Priorities

  1. Write down the five things that are most important for you to do today. It doesn’t matter what they are. They could be career related, personal, or social.
  2. Put those 5 things into priority order with #1 being most important. Choosing which is most important can be difficult, so take some time if you need to.
  3. To successfully set priorities we need to recognize how the priorities of others fit into our list. Think about the expectations that others have for you today and where those fall in your priority list. Maybe something for your spouse is at the top and something for your boss is in the middle. It’s okay wherever they end up, as long as they fall somewhere on your list.

Now you can make conscious decisions about what to do next based on how it will help achieve these priorities. Maybe you choose to get something low on the list done early because it’s easy to do, maybe you do everything first that you need to get the most important one done.

How Setting Priorities Helps Us

This exercise may sound a little obvious, but I can tell you from my own experience there have been days where I didn’t consciously think through my priorities. At the end of the day couldn’t figure out how I had worked so hard and gotten nothing important done. If you ever feel this way, doing this exercise can help turn the day around and help you achieve your most important priorities for that day. After you get used to doing this for just one day at a time, you can start to extend the time scale and set broader, long-term priorities. Soon you’ll have a list of priorities that can guide all of the actions and decisions you make as a leader!

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