Align Your Priorities

How do your daily actions and your priorities align? Here is a simple way to figure that one out.

You will need a regular piece of paper and pencil for this task. If you use a computer, you will need a printer. For the sake of simplicity I recommend not using a electronic device. Also, there is something real and grounding about the act of writing with your own hand.

Make three lists. On the first one write down the three most important things in your life today in order of priority. Your job, health, money, creative life, …whatever you deem the most import things. Don’t list people yet. We will get to them. Really think about what you focus your thoughts on, not necessarily what you spend your time on. We will get to the issue of time in a minute too. After you have written them down, flip your list over face down.

The second list may be a little more difficult. It may possibly involve some math to figure it out. On this list write down the top three ways you spend your time from greatest to least amount of time invested during a typical three day period. For example Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Don’t use Saturday or Sunday. Any three weekdays will work. Are you at work more hours than you are at home? What to you spend time doing after work? After you write it down, flip it over too.

The third list should be the easiest one. List the names of the three most important humans in your life. Who is it you desire? Who if they disappeared this second into the ether would you miss the most? For the sake of this task, if you have more than one child you can write “children”. Please do not use the word family to mean your spouse, children and/or your immediate family. List them out by name. I know you may have more people whom you love than three. I do as well, however for the sake of this project list your top three. Flip it over.

Now in front of you are the three lists you have written out. Turn them back face up. Place them in front of you. List one to your left, list three in the middle and list two on your right. Write on the top of list one, “What I Value”. Write on the top of the third list, “Who I Value.” and on the second list write, “Time I value.”

Can you see by reading left to right if the #1 position on the lists coincide? For example, your number one may be, “Home”, Spouse”, “Work”. To me that is a good alignment. You are focused on providing a home for your loved one and you are working hard to get it. Not all the rows will make your priority as plain to you as that example. Just read them slowly and think about why you wrote them down.

What do you see? Are you spending your time to move forward to what you want most in life? Are your loved ones a real priority?

The point to this small exercise to to really look at what your priorities are and to analyze if you are being true to your own desires. If you were honest with your answers you should see where your priorities align and where they do not. Your lists will change as you change and go through life. Stick with three or five on each list. Do not let it overwhelm you. It is only as useful as you are truthful with yourself.

If you do not like what you see, work to change what is really important to you to line up with how you are living.

If you would like to talk about this project, send me a message using the contact form.


Lori O’Gara

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