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Shift from time management to priority management

Published on July, 30th 2018
By Greg Wells

Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Like you are chasing your tail and barely able to get it all done? Like you are paddling madly upstream but still being carried along with the current?

You aren’t alone. It’s a feeling that most people get at some point. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a simple mental shift you can make that will change not only how you spend time but how you feel about the time you spend.

Stop managing your time. Start managing your priorities.

Managing your time is letting forces outside of you dictate what you do and when. It’s living out of your calendar. Or living out of your email, which is really just a collection of other people’s calendars and priorities for your time.

Managing your priorities is knowing what matters to you and spending time on that. It’s waking up every day with a laser focus on your top three priorities for the day. Is it your family? Is it a particular project? Are you building a certain element of your business? Are you taking on something completely new? Whatever it happens to be, make absolutely sure you are aware of your priorities and not someone else’s agenda, which is what happens the second you open your email or scroll through Facebook messenger.

Obviously, the first step is to ask, “What are my priorities?” Are you clear about the five most important things in your life right now? If not, block some time off and figure them out. Then, make sure you start every morning with a plan. What are you going to do today that will help you move forward with those five priorities? What will you being saying “no” to that isn’t aligned with those priorities?

Here’s an example of how this shift can be a game changer.

Two years ago, I took the entire summer off to write The Ripple Effect. I had been trying to do it piecemeal, and it wasn’t working. So I blocked off July and August. No meetings, no phone calls, no public speaking engagements, nothing. The university was shut down, so I could do that. And whenever anyone messaged me with, “Greg, I need to meet with you about this,” I’d respond with, “See you in September. I’ve got to write my book.” Invariably, their response would be, “Yeah. Great. I’ll see you in September.”

We think that everyone wants us to be engaged with them instantaneously. Yet when we share with them what we are trying to accomplish, invite them to protect the boundary we have put around our time, they get to help make it happen. In fact, they often say, “I totally get it. That’s a struggle that I’m having. Maybe I should do that in my life as well.”

I hope you enjoyed this article!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

And my new book – The Focus Effect – is available at this link.

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