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Setting Priorities
Is A Skill

Written Sunday 03/12/06 by Joe Rossini

The skill of setting priorities can prove to be one of the most valuable talents you can ever develop and hone throughout your lifetime. Those individuals that set priorities for their activities each day will direct their time, energy and resources toward the areas they deem are most important in their life. We all eventually realize that thereís never enough time in a day, week or month to satisfy all our responsibilities in all of our roles. We are always faced with making decisions on what we should be doing at every moment. We often struggle with these decisions, usually due to the lack of a plan with clear cut priorities set for what is most important in our life.

Too often, we go through days or weeks without any clear cut priorities for our activities. We just dress up as a potential firefighter ready to take on the next crisis that pops into our life at work, at home or in our organizations. The crisis doesnít even have to belong to us. It can be someone elseís crisis that we feel compelled to take charge of, or help to solve. Due to our lack of experience, we get involved in areas we have no business being in and complicate our lives even more. The day ends and another starts and the beat goes on.

Life can be so much more fulfilling if you can figure out what activities are most important in your job, business, family, and relationships. Then begin planning your days around the highest priority tasks that will make the greatest strives toward achieving success, happiness and satisfaction for yourself and those you love.

Some good advice I heard many years ago was to focus on your work when you are working and focus on yourself or you family when you are at home. I know this is easier said than done Ė however its advice that is worth following. There should be a certain number of hours each day that you plan to work smart at your job or business, with a starting and ending time pre-determined. You donít have to work the same exact hours each day, but once you set the daily schedule Ė STICK TO IT. If you planned to end work at 4:00pm on Monday in order to catch your sonís little league game that you promised you would watch, then BE THERE. Make sure everyone at your job knows you are leaving at 4:00pm and donít allow anyone to dump their monkeys on your back at 3:45pm. This discipline is what sets apart individuals who set and follow their priorities from those who cave in and make excuses daily to everyone around them. Those who donít set priorities will call their spouse at 4:30pm with the excuse du jour, apologizing for the twentieth time for missing juniorís game or event.

During my earlier days as a business owner, I used to think that I was the only person who could perform certain important tasks. I seriously believed that no one could do some things as well as I could. I really thought that if I didnít do certain tasks, they just wouldnít be done properly. These errors in judgment can be very costly to oneís company, as well as to oneís family. Trying to perform too many tasks in a business is a sure-fire way to stay glued to your business; not grow people; burn out; and destroy your home life. I have known hundreds of individuals who traveled down this path, only to end up miserable and lonely.

Once I learned how to set priorities in my life Ė things were changed forever. I formulated a plan for my month, my weeks and my days. Beginning around 1985, around the time I bought my IBM XT, I woke up early each morning and set up my activities for my day using an early generation of Contact Managers or PIMís. I had clear cut objectives and tasks each day, prioritized by their importance, with reminders and alarms set. I learned that with the proper training and guidance others COULD perform tasks just as well as I could and delegated as many activities as possible Ė with systematic follow-up to make sure everything was being accomplished on time. My appointments and meetings had agendaís, starting times and ending times and my planning and priority setting skills grew stronger each year. Eventually I evolved my planning skills to having a starting time and an ending time for my work activities each day and disciplined myself to stay on schedule and get home on time.

In the late 1980ís I convinced my partners to take two extra weekdays off a month and then we evolved into a four day work week. We all had more time to rejuvenate from our intense work schedules Ė and were able to think clearer and plan even better for our futures. By delegating more and empowering competent associates with our prior responsibilities, we had more time to concentrate on growing our business. And we did. We duplicated our success story in other markets and satisfied lots of customers, employees and benefited handsomely ourselves.

If you are not planning each day and setting priorities Ė itís time to begin. The software is plentiful today to help you get started Ė and once you do Ė your life will be changed forever. Make it a PRIORITY to get started NOW!

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