Priority management is key to have a simpler and happier life. In order to define our priorities we need to know our values.
“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau
Do you have an itch inside your stomach for a very longtime? Do you do a lot of things during the day but still feel something is not right? Do you feel you had to do something but have forgotten to do? Maybe you believe you have the perfect to do list but still there is that feeling telling you that you are missing something… I have good news for you: you are not alone. We all have this nonstop talking voice inside our mind; saying that we are doing something wrong. It is a good thing we have to do lists and we work hard to cross each item but we still are not satisfied.
So what is the problem? Maybe we cannot manage time…or maybe we are too perfectionist and we are not happy even though we work long and hard to fulfill our responsibilities…or maybe our to do list does not contain what is important for us
“Think harder; don’t work harder…”
Our time is limited. In fact time is the most important variable in our life since we cannot get it back once we lost it. But I am not talking about the time management here. The day is 24 hours. It has been and it will be 24 hours…Always… The issue is not whether we have enough time or not but whether we spend our time doing the right things or not… Tim Ferriss said: “If you don’t have time, the truth is, you don’t have priorities. Think harder; don’t work harder.” Have you ever thought about your priorities? What matters most to you? Do you think about whether what you do is in line with what you value most?..
What I observe is that most of the people are busy doing stuff that are important for their families, for their friends, for their boss, for the society but not for themselves… We need to set our priorities so that we can make our plans accordingly, we can act smarter and we can get rid out of the chaos in our life. I can hear you are saying that you already know what matters to you most, but I challenge you.
Can you please tell me how you know that your “priorities” right now are yours but not somebody else’s? Do you spend time in helping your friend or going to the gym? Do you prefer to have dinner with your partner’s friends or attend to a soft skill training? How do you decide which one is more important and your true priority? Here comes another concept: value. In order to define our priorities we should know our values.
What is value? How do we find our values?
Value come from the Latin word valere and it means to be strong, to be of worth. Our values are our guides and lead us through our journey. They make our life worth living. They are like compass showing us which direction we should walk toward. They are the principles according to which we believe we need to arrange our private and business life. This need is so deep that we all want to have a life aligned with them.
Our priorities should be based on them. Most importantly they are our criteria telling us whether our life is as satisfying as we expect it to be. If we do not have the inner peace, then we should check whether our life is in line with our values. Mahatma Gandhi once said: Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Most of the time we are not aware of our values or we don’t name them.
This leads us to the wrong direction and cause us to make a choice that will make us unhappy eventually. Since the values are very important in each and every phase of our life we need to define them and moreover we need to visit them once in a while. If you have never done that here is how you can find your values: Think about the peak moments in your life…the happiest times…the best experiences… Write them down and explain why they were the most satisfying moments.
Then read all of you have written and find the similarities. You are happiest and more satisfies when you are living your values. Maybe it is freedom…or love…or be appreciated…beauty, respect, justice, peace, health… You can check it by thinking what makes you angry. We get angry mostly when someone or something step on our values. If no peak experiences comes to your mind then you can find values lists in internet, look at them choose what seems important to you. I believe the first approach is healthier but in case it does not work try to use the 2nd approach. Do not forget to prioritize your values. We all have more than one value so make a list starting from the most important to least important.
How my values will help me to define my priorities?
Our values show us what our focus in life should be. We need to make our decisions based on our values and act accordingly. Our time in the world is limited, we don’t know how long we are going to live. This is the reason why values and priorities are important. WE need to use our limited time wisely and do what is important for us. Let’s think we have 1000USD and that is all we have. Would you waste the money for anything or would you try to choose wisely?
Since now we know our values, we should go back to our to do list and check each and every item again. Will this item satisfy my values? Should I allocate time for that and if yes is it a priority or can it wait? You can not only simplify your list but also your life. This is very important especially if you want to become an entrepreneur. Having a startup is already difficult and requires time…so do not waste your time for things that are not really important to you. Spend more time for what matters to you most!
If you don’t where you are going, how you are going is not important…
Having an end goal is important. This goal should be aligned with your values and includes your passion in it. If any time you feel lost just remember values are like compass. You can use them to make your decisions…
I want to leave you with a meaningful brief part of Lewis Carrolls Alice In Wonderland:
Said Alice to the cat -“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”, said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where ” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go”. said the Cat.