I’m coming in hot on the topic of prioritization. I get asked about prioritization all the time, but it doesn’t deserve the amount of time and attention that people give it.
If you’re wondering why I dedicated an entire blog post to it, given my stance, read on.
Let’s debunk a pervasive thought today:
I don’t know what to prioritize.
You actually do know what to prioritize.
I know this because I’ve coached a lot of people who have told me they had no idea what to prioritize, but—with a few well-worded questions—we got to the truth: They know exactly what their priorities are, but feel discomfort acting on those priorities.
So, the real problem is that when you name your priorities, you might not like your own priorities, you might be uncomfortable actually planning around them, or you might be ashamed to realize that you’re not living in alignment with them.
You act confused and overwhelmed, instead of dealing with the repercussions of acknowledging and owning your priorities. Totally normal, but solvable.
If you want to live in line with your priorities, some tough tweaks are often required:
- Saying no to people and risking upsetting them
- Turning down opportunities
- Owning what’s true for you, even if it’s unpopular or weird to others
I’ll share a very real example of this from my life: During the pandemic, I had abundant amounts of free time, and I wanted to devote almost all of it to my business. I told myself that this wasn’t noble; I should be spending more time talking to family and doing hobbies. I convinced myself that the pandemic was “supposed” to show me how work wasn’t everything and family was what mattered—so I often felt guilt for working on my #1 priority at the time: My business.
Here’s how to break the habit of telling yourself that you don’t know what to prioritize:
- Do the Top 5 Priorities worksheet, and commit to telling yourself the truth. Reassure yourself by reminding yourself that these are your top priorities right now, and they’re always evolving
- Cross-reference your calendar, and notice what’s on your calendar that’s not on your list of 5 priorities
- Be with yourself with whatever emotion comes up. Resentment, obligation, fear, frustration, and shame are all common
- Ask yourself how much work you’re willing to do to re-align your actions to your priorities. There’s no right or wrong answer; just the truth
And if you’re convinced that you don’t have time or energy for all of your priorities, I want to offer this: You might not need to give up as much as you think you do.
Be sure to fact-check your schedule before you make assumptions. You might have more time than you thought, or you might be able to make some small tweaks to how efficiently you do things to free up more time and energy.