Prioritizing is a skill with several steps. This is the first in a series of articles that will break down and explore the importance of each step. When we practice conscious prioritization, we see more – hear more – and make better decisions.
Time management and productivity tools help us track and use our time well. What’s underlying how we use our time, though, is what we value.
When we value:
- efficiency, we prefer to communicate in specific ways;
- effectiveness, we make choices that take us from the beginning, to the middle, to the end – the finished work; and
- production, we fill up our schedule accordingly.
What we value is what we prioritize.
If we don’t like results we are getting, we can reverse-engineer our thinking patterns to make changes within ourselves. When outcomes fall short or totally miss the mark, we can look at the actions we took by asking a few questions: Where did we get excited about our work? What did we do that caused or found resistance (we wanted to avoid work or procrastinate)? What was the reason we took the work on?
You know what you want, yet you don’t get results you expect. Now what?
Take what you want and add in what is important to you. What you value.
Be real about these wants. Are they success, financial freedom, become debt free, create a legacy, have fun, learn … or one of any other gazillion values.
Here are the steps to an exercise I created to easily find out personal values:
- Use a list of values and select everything that is important to and describes you, and what you want others see in you.
- There may be over 50+ words on your list. That’s too many to live by, so you’ll need narrow the list down to something that can quickly be recalled.
- Three is a number that is easy to remember. To know what is important to you, as well as how those key areas look and sound.
- Group the words together by what they mean to you – into the three buckets. There may be a few outliers that don’t fit.
- Next, choose one word in the group of words to represent the entire bucket. That is your value.
- You have three “value words,” each of which are already defined by the rest of the words you’ve grouped together in the bucket.
Make choices based on what you value.
Parker, who’s name has been changed to protect the innocent, was a business partner of mine. She and I had an idea that we built out and launched with an online summit. The summit was a success. It moved people into our sales pipeline. But then … everything fell apart.
It turned out that we had not created a foundation for which we both could show up, take action, and move the business forward. We were stumbling all over, re-deciding decisions; some insecurities even showed up. There is more to this story … about prioritizing … For now, the takeaway is that we were unable to talk about what we valued individually and what that meant for the role we played in growing a just-launched business.
Do you take prioritizing for granted?
Choosing to hit the snooze button one more time, to skip breakfast because of an accident on the way to the office, to have lunch with colleagues, even to answer email or texts during a meeting .. all these and ore can illuminate what you prioritize.
The challenge is looking at what we do (our actions) and what we value (our thoughts) and making sure these related items are harmonious. Knowing what we want doesn’t remove all difficulty; however, doing so gets the noise – the emotion, heart strings, and obligations – in check.
The next step of prioritizing is to find and stand by what you will not compromise. Until you know what you value, communicate that particular concept to others is difficult.
It’s time to forge your own way to success by using the specific, personalized strategies and tactics that apply to your business, and yours alone.
Find out more about the “Weave Value Into Your Business” step-by-step program.