I recently had a conversation with a client that caused me to think about priorities. More specifically; how we can identify the priorities that are guiding our lives. It can be very easy to get lost in the process between what we want for ourselves versus what we actually do.
In the next couple of posts, I would like to focus on the idea of priorities and how we can align them in our preferred way. In today’s post we will look at how we can identify where our priorities lie.
How to Identify Your Priorities
The process outlined below will help you identify what your actual priorities are versus what you think they are.
Track Your Activities for the next 5-7 Days
Those of you who have dieted may be familiar with a food log, in which you chart all of your meals to get a realistic sense of how and what you are eating. This is the same thing, only you will be keeping a life log. Write down how you have spent your time each day for the next 5-7 days. The goal is to capture your activities and patterns over the span of an average week. Don’t do this during a time period when one or several special events are occurring as you won’t get an accurate picture. You want to get a picture into what a normal week looks like. Be as specific as you need to be in order to capture the information and be consistent in your labels. Some examples of labels you might use include the following: sleep, work, personal breaks, phone calls (divided into business or personal), time spent with family, etc. A great way to think about this is if someone else were to look at your schedule would they have an accurate picture of what you did in a day. It may be easiest to create a chart that tracks a 24-hour cycle, in which you just input the information.
Identify the Main Categories
Once you have captured this information, you’ll want to review it and identify the major categories. Write down or highlight those categories. These major categories are the ones that you see showing-up the most, and using the most time in a day. There will probably be some overlap as many of us like to multitask (or at least try to) in an attempt to maximize the use of our time. Make sure you write these down too. Some of the major categories will of course include work/school, sleeping, & eating.
In addition to these, also identify categories that capture the time you spent on personal activities, with friends, & family.
Review the Results
Now that you have this information, I just want you to spend some time reviewing it and seeing what you notice about what it says versus what you would like it to say. What does it say about your actual priorities?
Next week we will explore how to change it so that it more accurately reflects your desired priorities.