What is the best way to discover your priorities and integrate them into your life? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
So many of us struggle with priorities. And as a time management coach, I see it all the time. The reason we have a difficult time in this area is because we start in the wrong place. It’s easy to assume that you should create priorities on a daily basis, basing them on your calendar and what meetings you have coming up, then add in additional actions or tasks as needed. But prioritizing this way can create extensive to-do lists that force you to grind through your day, ultimately derailing you from your future goals and pushing you to burn out.
Instead, when creating your priorities, I recommend you take two actions to zoom out and look ahead. They’ll require you to define your vision for the future and identify core values that you’d like to uphold. Once you’ve taken those two actions, your day-to-day schedule will no longer feel daunting. You’ll know that each action is inline with who you are and helping you reach your goals.
Step 1: Zoom out and look ahead. Cast your vision for the future. No matter your role or level, defining your vision for the future can help ensure that every action you’re taking is in some way moving you closer to your goals. And finding out what you want your future to look like doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’ve not thought about this before and you’re not sure where to start, I recommend making a list of 100 things you’d like to experience in your lifetime or writing a letter to yourself from the future telling yourself about all the amazing things you’ve done and what you did to achieve them.
Step 2: Once you have a vision for the future, you’re ready to define your core values. Often when people think about discovering their priorities, they’re unknowingly referring to their core values. Core values can consist of 5-7 things that represent what’s most important to you and inspire by your vision of the future or help you get there. For example, my core values are authenticity, courage, intention, curiosity and legacy. Then, integrate those values into your life by making a list of activities for each of your values. Lists for your core values can include things like exercise, making sure to rest and recharge, and also your morning routine, your end-of-day routine, and planning for the following day.
A Better Way to Prioritize: Now that you’re clear on your future goals and core values, you’ll want to look at your calendar each week and ask yourself – How am I living my values this week? If you don’t see any values-inspired activities on your calendar, that is your opportunity to cut, cancel and rearrange your activities in order to spend more time living your values.
Zooming out and prioritizing this way is an important step to start feeling more control of your schedule, helps avoid burnout and ensures that you’re always working towards your future goals in a way that’s authentic to you.