It’s a term that we throw around like snowballs, but how aware are you of your priorities? One step further, if you know your priorities, do you consciously create time for them?
Let’s dig into this theme with the same fun and freshness that a snowball fight would bring. Yep. The Christmas spirit has clearly arrived.
What about the word ‘Priority’?
So I suggest putting on our nerd glasses for a minute, as we look at the word itself. In Latin, ‘prioritas’ means ‘first in rank, order, or dignity’ whereby ‘pri’ has meanings such as ‘previous, preceding, prior’ or simply ‘before’ (phew, thanks Google). Simply said: a priority is something that comes before everything else. Just what is that something? And what if you have more than one thing?
Making clear that which is near
As I am writing this, a fog suddenly came up. It covered the background surroundings but makes more clear everything that’s near. If that isn’t a beautiful image to describe a right relationship with our priorities: when what’s important to us is sharply in front of us and makes everything else a little foggy. What image would you assign to priorities? I’d love to read it in the comments.
‘Priorities’ can be a rather boring or empty term though, related to long work meetings and time management articles and books, which I used to read en masse. It sounds stale and impersonal. ‘Dreams’ is a word that comes closer to touching my heart. ‘Love’ is the word that hits home.
Who and what do you love?
Who and what do you love? What would you love to achieve this day/ week/ month/ year/ life? To keep it nice and light 😉 Or: how can you better love others and yourself?
Those are questions that work for me. Perhaps they work for you too, or you can replace them with a different word. For instance: ‘values’. Do you know your values in life? What are the qualities that you value in others as well as yourself, that make you thrive personally and/or professionally? Also: who or what do you most value in life?
By the way, these are nice end-of-year questions to reflect on. So just a small detour, yes I know, we’re talking about priorities and I’m drifting off, but I promise, it does relate! At the end of the year, I always enjoy and can really recommend taking time for a review: what happened this year, what went well, what did not, what did I learn, and then looking at the year ahead: what would I like to focus on? See, we’re already back at our theme here. Focus.
From Fog to Focus
Focus is an essential element when it comes to our priorities. It lets less important things fade into the fog of the background, as it sharpens our priorities (or: dreams, love, values, insert-your-word). It’s the knife that cuts through the crêpe- excuse my French. If our priorities are the milestones on a map, then our focus is the helm that determines our direction and we are of course the captains. So how do we prevent going from aye, aye to ai ai ai?
Intention vs. Intentions
Intention. Not to be confused with intentions, which we may have tried and failed at in the past at new year’s. Intention is about focusing our attention. As I mentioned earlier, having a review/ outlook at the end of the year, steers us towards our priorities in life. Since I love time-saving tricks, I will share one here.
After you have done your reflections, no shortcut for that I’m afraid, you can summarize your result into one word. Yep. Just one. Since we somehow ended up with sailing metaphors; that one word will be the North Star that guides you in the year ahead.
For instance, my word for 2022 was: consistency. Little did I know that I would end up with a burnout and that creating consistent habits really helped me heal. So yes, use your intuition too, or for my Christian friends, praying about it. You could also create a word for each month- can you guess mine? An easy one. Yes, you got it: priorities!
What is your ‘something’?
So. We’ve flown over the meaning of the word, how priorities help you, and some important ingredients. Now, to circle back to the beginning, if a priority is ‘something that comes before everything else’, let’s look at what that ‘something’ is for you and what to do if you have multiple ‘somethings’.
For that, let me put on my captain cap, I mean, life coaching cap, and ask you some questions. If you can, cosy yourself up with a cup of tea to journal about them:
- If you look back at 2023 next year, all limiting thoughts aside, what would you love to have achieved? If you can, take some time to write down your ideal scenario(s).
- What is one thing you can do each day, to move a step closer towards that goal(s)
- Which life area is most in need of your attention at the moment? (e.g. family, friends, finances, marriage, mission/purpose, work, health (spiritual, mental, physical)
- What kind of person do you want to be/ seen as? How can you cultivate that quality a little more in yourself each day?
- Who or what makes your heart beat faster? How can you create time each day to pour into that person or project?
- Which activities make you excited, fuel you, fulfill you, fill up your tank, etc, even though they seem small, definitely schedule time for those.
- And one more, just to keep it nice and light: what can you uniquely contribute to the world? 😉
The Importance of Awareness
Once you have some clarity on those questions, you start bringing them into order. I recommend doing so intuitively because deep down you know what comes first. Often, the order in which you wrote your goals down is very telling or even correct.
In the end though, it’s not so much about the order, it’s about knowing that these are your most important goals/ life areas in this phase of your life. Having that awareness and consciously creating time for these priorities can make a huge difference.
All of that said. Do you have any questions? Do you miss anything in this article? Did you have an inspiring insight? I would LOVE to hear it all in the comments or via a message.
Wishing you a cosy, Christmasy and clear rest of your day!