Axiom – Get your priorities right

Like it or not , we live in a busy world.  My guess is that most of us have joked about needing more hours in the day or even days in the week.  The simple reason for this is that we are struggling to get everything done because there is not enough time.

Unless I have missed something, changing time is not actually an option.  Of course, it is possible to cut out things that waste time, like eating or sleeping, but in the end this is a false economy and is not a long term strategy.

Given that time is fixed, what we need to focus on are our priorities.  In reality if we do not have time to do something it is because we have other things that are higher priorities; we always end up doing the things that are most important to us.  This insight is imporant for two key reasons.

First, our priorities may have got in a mess.  When we look at our life it may be that things are not as we would wish.  For example, perhaps we are not giving enough time to our family.  Rather than lament the lack of time and never change anything, we would need honestly to consider our priorities.  Why is our family not coming higher up the list?

Second, we might not be achieving all that we want to.  Priorities help us get things done.  They enable us to break down big tasks into manageable chunks and set us free from distractions.  Project management at its most basic is simply about effective prioritisation.  Maybe this all sounds like more busyness and what you really want is more time to relax.  Helpfully, this approach still holds.  What you need to do is make relaxing more of a priority.

As leaders we need to get our priorities right, both so that our lives are well ordered and so that we get stuff done.  Not only that but we also need to find ways of effectively communicating priorities to others so that the teams we lead also make it happen.

If you want to read more, particularly regarding the second point, you can read more from Scott Berkun.

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