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Seven Steps to Write Out Your Priorities

If you read my last post, I had a meeting with my business coach, Mark, that got me thinking about my priorities. In the three years I have been a serious entrepreneur, I realized I haven’t update my priorities. Yikes! I had them tucked away in a mental file where I keep other things that get put off until tomorrow. Mark saw my frustration and encouraged me to take out a new sheet of paper. “Now, write your priorities…”

I was embarrassed! I had only written down three to four things. Instead of scolding me, (Mark does what he does best) he defined the word priority. A priority is a thing that is regarded as more important that the other. It has an action and a deadline. This could represent a current project, agenda, or goal with a time frame to get IT accomplished. “Now, rewrite your priorities…”

This time I could easily write down nine things. As our meeting continued, I asked how he balances his work and life priorities. Here’s the golden ticket: we set the priorities for the areas in our life that are important. This new-found wisdom had given me an idea. I should make a list (I love lists) of ALL my priorities so I can easily see what my expectations are in the different areas of my life.

7 Steps to Write Out Your Priorities:

1. You set your own priorities. Others may influence you, but ultimately it’s you and what you merit a priority.

2. Separate your life into different categories to write out and see where your priorities lie. This is also an indicator if you are bringing spread too thin.

3. Add an action and a deadline to each list. Be realistic. Try not to pile on too much at a time. A steady flow of progress is better than accomplishing too much too fast and losing steam.

4. Present a list you feel comfortable sharing with a coach, mentor, or superior. Ask: “Do we agree that these are the items to get done over the next X-time frame?” This holds you accountable and allows collaboration to see something you might have missed.

5. Use technology to guide your progress. Once I have a list written out, I plug each action item and deadline to a new category on my Reminders app. Reminders is FREE for Apple users. Or you can use Wunderlist or EasilyDo in a similar way.

6. Start today! The first step is the hardest.

7. Revisit the lists of categorizes at the beginning and ending of the month. How did you do? What got done and what didn’t? Revise once every three months.

How did you discover your priorities? How have they evolved with you?

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