Fall is a busy time: School is about to start for you and your kids, the pace at work seems to pick up, and it’s about time to prepare for the inevitable Minnesota winter. OK, that last part applies to me, but when you live in Minnesota, winter is always around the corner.
I am a planner, a skill learned from my mother, the bookkeeper. At times it does drive my wife to the edge (see my post about your strengths becoming your weaknesses). But I have found it best for me to plan my day, week, month, menu, shopping list, packing list, work schedule, calendar schedule, kids’ schedules, errands, school work — well, you get the point, and you get why it drives my wife to the edge at times.
With all of the busyness, how might you manage it all?
Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said, “The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” He is a guy who knew about successful habits, and this is a good one to implement. It isn’t what is important, it is what is important to you. I am a morning person and I ask myself how am I going to spend the best part of my day, the morning. While coffee is always involved, I ask how will I use the morning?
For me, this helps me understand what is important to me. Vince Lombardi, the famed coach of the Green Bay Packers, once suggested to his players that their priorities should be their family, their faith, and then the Green Bay Packers. Fifty years later those players credit Lombardi with their considerable success in life beyond football.
What are your priorities, and how are you going to use your time today to take a step toward fulfilling those dreams? Here are some tips for helping define your priorities. Ask yourself:
- “Who is important to me?”
- “Why are they important to me”
- “In a perfect world, how would I prioritize all of the other stuff — work, school, exercise . . . ?”
- “What steps can you take today to schedule those priorities?”
- “What steps can you then take tomorrow?”
The key here is taking consistent, constructive steps towards using your time for your priorities. A tip might be to rate yourself on how you are working toward your goals on a scale from one to 10. Give yourself an honest rating and congratulate yourself on where you are, regardless of where you place yourself on that scale. You have done something; at least, you’ve identified the goal. Then ask yourself what can I do today to move my grade up one point or even a half point. These are first steps, your first priorities.
I wish all of you the best of luck in this school year. Remember, your life is not a spectator sport.
" The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."