Knowing your priorities will get you everything you ever want
Knowing your priorities will get you everything you ever want
If you look closely at this photo you can see that our kitchen doesn’t have a ceiling. That’s putting it lightly.
We’ve had a big, gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling for over a year now. Like the down-to-the studs, lights dangling from the exposed woodwork kind of hole. If you look up, you see 2x10s, exposed plumbing, electrical wires… you see everything.
When we first moved into this house, our main priority was replacing the heating system. We had archaic electric panels over each window that looked like what restaurants use to keep fries warm.
Not exactly the look I was going for.
Consider the fact that it also didn’t HEAT particularly well (ahem, the whole point) and was expensive as hell to run, and well, you see the issue.
But in order to install the new heating system we had to take down the existing ceiling, and thus, the giant gaping hole in the kitchen was born.
Now, most people would have patched this up right away, but in our case, practicality won because we knew we’d need to access that same area for some of our other remodeling projects at a later date.
And so, it’s become a fact of life that my kitchen just doesn’t have a ceiling.
At first it REALLY bugged me.
I’d wake up to make my coffee each morning with thoughts like, “how long will we have to live like this?” and “this place will never look like home.” I was struggling to keep a positive mindset when I’m such a visual person and this stuff can really get to me.
But along the way, I learned that it wasn’t necessarily the ceiling that needed fixing. It was how I THOUGHT about the ceiling that needed some serious evaluation.
I came to terms with the fact that it simply wasn’t a priority at the moment and that my thoughts, time, and energy could be better spent on something that WAS.
Fast-forward to today and our home has once again shifted to the top of the priority list but this live-in renovation has completely shifted my mindset around what it means to live into my priorities and let the rest go.
The funny thing is, I hardly even notice the construction anymore. Not because it isn’t there (the toilet in our dining room says differently) but because I’ve gotten really good at shifting my mindset toward what’s most important to me right now and I’m seeing some killer progress as a result of that shift.
Now, chances are, you’re not remodeling a home right now. Maybe for you, it’s a half-finished sales funnel, a website that needs updating, or an email you’ve been meaning to send. But rest assured that knowing your priorities (no matter WHAT they are!) is the best way to get everything you ever want in life and business. Today I’m talking about how to do just that.
Understand why priorities are so important
Most people aren’t getting what they want in life and business because they don’t even KNOW what they want. Seriously, think about it. When you’ve been super clear about what you want and taken small, consistent efforts towards it, doesn’t it almost always show up for you?
Knowing your priorities is just another way of saying, “knowing what you want.” And when you know what you want it’s a lot easier to GET what you want.
I’m breaking this down because I believe that thinking in this way is essential to helping you break free from feeling busy and overwhelmed and start focusing on what’s most important to you right now. That exact focus is going to help you take the actions that are in support of what you want so you can see the results you want more quickly, and experience the success you’re craving.
Personally, I LIVE FOR those breakthrough moments when clients realize that they don’t have to do “all the things.” I’ve seen them feel lighter and breathe easier just knowing that by focusing on a few core priorities they’ll see MORE results, not LESS.
For one client, I even created a “priorities dashboard,” a simple fill-in-the-blank PDF, to help her shift her mindset around her to-do list and visually map out what’s most important to her. She was able to lean into those priorities and improve her decision-making skills on a daily basis rather than spiraling into analysis paralysis. Because for her, easier decisions meant less stress and more happiness in both work AND life.
Look at your goals and prioritize tasks around those
Goals, priorities, and tasks...they can all run together if you let them. So let’s take a moment and talk about the subtle difference between these and why cultivating the right mindset is essential to seeing the results you want.
A GOAL is typically a milestone you’re looking to hit. For example, making $10k per month in revenue, having one million downloads of your podcast, or working only 3 days a week. You’re probably super familiar with setting these kind of goals.
Now, let’s go a bit deeper. A PRIORITY is something that you’re treating as more important than something else. Like when you decide to forgo Taco Tuesday with the girls and choose to spend your time working ahead on your business instead so you hit your revenue goal. You’re prioritizing your business. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t a bad thing either. By simply RECOGNIZING your priorities you can take actions which support them.
Which brings us to TASKS. Tasks are actions you take that are in support of your goals and priorities. They’re the actions we prioritize on a daily basis to bring us closer to our goals. So the next time you’re trying to weed through that brain dump of a to-do list, ask yourself which items on your list are in support of your goals, and then, well, make them a priority. ;)
Here’s how this breakdown looks for me:
My GOAL → is to launch a podcast by the end of the month
My PRIORITY → is my business right now
My TASKS → are things like reaching out to potential guests, hiring a podcast editor, recording interviews...you get the idea.
Focus on three main priorities at any given moment
The best way to prioritize is to know your priorities. Let that sink in for a second because it sounds super obvious, but it’s the one mindset shift that will help you to let go of the guilt of saying “no” to things that aren’t in support of what you want.
I recommend honing in on just three at any given moment, allowing you to simplify instead of spreading yourself too thin.
Right now, for me that looks like: HOME. BUSINESS. RELATIONSHIP.
That means that I’m coasting in another area like FITNESS which has been a priority in the past. Now let me be clear, that doesn’t mean I’m completely letting my health go in the process, but it does mean that I’m not training for a marathon right now or learning a new form of strength training. Plus, if it comes down to being home to let the tile guy in instead of going out for a run, I don’t feel bad about it because I know that’s more of a priority right now.
Filter tasks and to-dos through your priorities
If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed by your mile-long to-do list, it’s time to evaluate which tasks are in support of your priorities. Just today, I was reminded of how important this is, because not all tasks are created equal. There are some tasks that have far greater return than others, helping you to reach your goals faster than others.
This is why I love helping clients define their goals and break them down into small, consistent efforts in their daily life so that they can prioritize those actions.
For example, one client was working on getting new leads, which meant prioritizing marketing efforts instead of designing the logo her in-laws asked her to do for free. Another had more abstract goals, like making time for movement and being more in-touch with the changing seasons, so I helped her prioritize getting out for a walk each day.
Knowing your priorities will almost always feel like you’re getting time back in your day. But the truth is, you’re not gaining more time—you’re just using that time more effectively to support the things that are most important to you. When you focus on the things that are most important you’re happier as a result, boosting your well-being and your business’s at the same time (because in most cases, you ARE the business).
Know that you’ll have to let some things go
When you learn to prioritize, you’re inherently saying “yes” to some things and “no” to others. That two letter word can make some entrepreneurs squirm (I’ve been there too!), wondering if they’re giving up business opportunities in exchange for time with their friends and family, or vice versa.
But think of it this way—you’re making space for the specific things in life and business that are most important to you so that you can hit your goals faster and easier than you would with a split focus.
So go ahead and say “no” every once in a while. That’s literally the entire point.
Because one of the most empowering mindset shifts is remembering that you get to decide what you say “yes” to. Knowing your priorities can make that a split-second decision instead of a long drawn-out process.
Lately, living into my priorities has meant keeping my weekends free so I can use that time to prioritize my business by recording podcast episodes when there isn’t the drilling and banging of construction that there is during the week. Or prioritize my relationship by spending quality time outdoors with my guy. Because both my business and my relationship are priorities right now.
But prioritizing doesn’t mean that you’re always saying “no.” You’re just doing so at critical times when you know your thoughts, time, and energy is better spent elsewhere.
The bottom line:
Knowing your priorities is another way of saying “know what you want.” When you know what you want it’s easier to take actions that support that priority rather than having a split focus on #allthethings. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed it’s time to shift how you’re thinking about your mile-long to-do list and spend time on tasks that are in support of your goals and priorities right now. This is the best way to free up time for the things that are ACTUALLY important to you and upgrade your life and business as a result.
Tell me in the comments below:
What are your top three priorities at the moment?
Photography by Jennifer Morgan Photography