Whose priorities are you making time for?

I’ve recently been reminded about something that frequently catches me and many of my coaching clients out, and I thought it was worth sharing in case you find the same.

It’s a phenomenon that is common with email (and other messaging platforms) but it’s a broader problem.

When you choose what to spend time doing, whose priorities are you putting first?

Are they your priorities, or are they someone else’s? Sometimes we’ll need to spend time helping someone else, or doing something for someone else, but things can sometimes get out of balance without us realising.

Here’s a common example of this:

If you’re using your inbox as your to-do list, you’re placing everyone else’s priorities above your own.

What often ends up happening is we spend time responding to, and working on, the things in our inbox. Some of those things might be important to us. But some will be more important to the sender of the email, and we may well have our own priorities that aren’t in our inbox.

Many of my coaching clients share how email or messaging seems to take a lot of their time and can impact their ability to progress some of the other things. When we discuss it, it’s often a reminder that relying on our incoming messages too much can mean we move away from our own priorities and favour other people’s instead.

We can also see this when we find ourselves changing our schedule to suit others when it has a detrimental impact on the things that are important to us.

So what can we do to keep the balance and ensure we’re making time for our own priorities in life?

Some ideas include:

  • Spending the first part of your day on something for you (before checking any messages or emails)
  • Scheduling time in your calendar for things that are important to you (and protecting it!)
  • Limiting the amount of time spent dealing with email
  • Giving yourself “offline time” where you can really focus without distractions (I use Do Not Disturb functionality on my phone often for this)
  • Keeping a list of your priorities so you’re regularly reminded of the things that are important to you

Do you have any other suggestions?

How will you make sure you dedicate time to the priorities in your life?