After living away in Bermuda for a year, this summer my two teenage kids moved back to live with me full time. I am so happy to be a more constant part of their lives, especially at such an important stage of their development.
I thought my priorities had changed. For the first three months I threw myself into the new world of single parenting. So much so that my business started to suffer. Important activities were being ignored and I was starting to procrastinate or find excuses not to take on certain projects or maintain activities that were vital to the survival and growth of my business because I thought I would be ignoring my #1 priority.
How could I focus on my kids but also avoid holding myself back from my business?
Often we think that our priorities have changed. But in reality it may not be the priority itself but how we manage it that needs to change. For that to happen you do need to know what your number one priority is.
This might come to you readily or you might have to conduct a little more of an exercise to get clarity. Years ago we were expected to have tidy 5 and even 10 year plans. The rapidly changing landscape in any business now places a more realistic time frame of 12-36 months.
Try this exercise:
- Make a list of what is important to you
- Add in what you would like to do in the next few years.
- Start to compare one against another by, pairing them off and deciding which one is more important to you right now.
- Keep boiling the list down to a final one.
You now have your number one priority.
You don’t have to ignore the other items on the list, but having too many points to work on will dilute focus and stretch resources too thin.
Clarity means not having to hold back
Once you are clear about the priority you can then decide how best to stay focused on that priority. This can be manifested in a number of ways and gives you permission to say YES or NO to them;
- When you plan your day and look at what needs to get done.
- As you book meetings or trips or have conversations.
- Where you spend your time networking – online and off line.
- As new opportunities and projects come to you.
Making decisions, focusing our time and productivity and ultimately achieving more is the perfect antidote to Parkinson’s law – that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
We all have the same number of hours in a day. Working on what is most important to us will make us happier, feel more fulfilled and less stressed rather than trying to do everything.
I would love to hear what your #1 priority is right now and what you are doing to keep mindful of it?