Too Often, Prioritizing Comes Down to What the Hottest Fire Is
What should I do first? There are so many things to choose from. What makes one thing more important?
Today we’ll talk priorities.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks discussing how we make managing our time more complicated than it needs to be and how if we’re intentional we can manage it better.
This is no different than any decisions we make. We have the power. We can choose.
But this is the hard part. It makes us responsible. If it doesn’t work out…it’s our fault. We’re to blame.
Don’t kid yourself…your choices are always your fault. Just own it, make the best choices you can and keep moving forward.
Making these kinds of decisions ultimately comes down to who you are. You need to get clear about this and prioritize accordingly.
It comes down to deciding what your big rocks are.
Growing in your faith? Spending more time with your family? Serving your customers better? Paying off debt? Taking better care of yourself physically and mentally? Helping with community projects?
All good things…
But there’s a limited space in your time jar and only so many rocks will fit.
Deciding what’s urgent, important or not is hard. Too much of the time we find ourselves fighting fires. Too often, this comes from a lack of preparation.
Most of us are aware of the time management quadrant which uses the idea of sorting things into the 4 different areas.
- Quadrant 1 is fire-fighting (urgent & important). This is easily recognized and where most of us spend way too much time. This is the get down to the core action of, if the house is on fire and the phones ringing…do we answer the phone or get the kids out of the house? The problem is we should have spent more on important rather than urgent and maybe we could have prevented the fire.
- Quadrant 2 is quality time (important & not urgent). This is the area where we should focus. It’s where we get the most return on our investment of time and energy. It’s also the hardest because there’s no immediate rush like there is when fighting fires.
- Quadrant 3 is distractions (urgent & not important). We can fill this quadrant with an endless list of small and trivial tasks convincing ourselves that they are important, because they probably are. The things in this quadrant require less time and energy than the ‘really’ important tasks. The question is, are you doing them because they’re important…or because it feels good to check thing off the list?
- Quadrant 4 is time-wasters (not important & not urgent). The things in this quadrant are the things of least importance. These things serve no direct purpose in accomplishing the important things in your life. You want to avoid wasting time on these things.
While this is a great plan, it still comes down to who you are and what your priorities are.
This is the hardest part.
A lack of planning and preparation is what leads to the fires starting. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be times when someone throws a match into your plans, and you have to stop what you’re doing and fight the fire.
The better prepared we are the less hot the fire will be and the quicker it can be put out.
Hot fires are a good way to get burned.
Don’t get burned by your time management. Know who you are and what your priorities are and put in the biggest rock first.