Don’t let the priorities of others replace your own top priorities.

How do you decide what’s a priority? We often think of what’s important (items that contribute to supporting our goals and objectives) and also what’s urgent (items requiring immediate attention but may or may not contribute to the success of meeting our goals and objectives). Scheduling time to action both isn’t always easy and can make us conflicted and stressed.

Enter John C. Maxwell. He provides what he views as the three Rs for the Law of Priorities:

  1. Requirement
  2. Return
  3. Reward

To get started he suggests asking yourself:
What is REQUIRED of me? Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what you must do. This can pertain to both your personal and work life.  He also says: If you lead others, then what must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else?

Next is:
What gives me the greatest RETURN? As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others. After determining requirements, focus on choices with a high return on investment (ROI).

And lastly:
What gives me the greatest REWARD? If you do only what you must, along with what is effective, then you will probably be highly productive. But you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction.

He also adds that these questions are meant to be asked IN ORDER. Many of us would love to skip down to #3 and focus on the most rewarding/fun/exciting activities. But no one can be successful who doesn’t possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third.

Your biggest challenge may be to identify what’s a true priority and remain focused on tackling those items without letting “gremlins” get in the way, and, it never hurts to start addressing your priorities with a cup of coffee!

Nobody’s life is ever all balanced.
It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day.
–Elisabeth Hasselbeck