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The thing is, I know this about myself, yet I continue to pack my calendar as full as I can because I'm scared of saying no and disappointing others. I worry about what they might think when I skip an event or tell them I can't make it this time.
It’s a process that is really really hard, yet as I become increasingly aware of how much time we all don’t have, I realize how necessary it is to make sure we occupy our time with activities that further our own goals and dreams, whether they are personal, business, ministry, or family goals.
It is vital that we align our agenda with what is truly important to us, and not simply please everyone else. We need to create priorities.
Because without priorities, we react to everything around us, rather than create the life we really want.
And I want to enjoy life, don't you?
Over the past few days, I've been diving into Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, written by my friend Ruth Soukup, and wow, this girl really speaks to the heart of the matter! Ruth runs a successful business and lives an extremely busy life herself, and it was refreshing to hear such wise words come from someone who has been there, and has overcome the obstacles we all face.
This book really got me thinking about my goals, dreams, and how I manage (or don't manage) my time. And the “secret” to getting the most important stuff done first really lies within our priorities. So how do we turn what we know, into what we should do?
Priorities Have to Be First, No Matter What
It seems like a no-brainer to make your priorities #1, but really, how many of us actually do that? I'm constantly putting email and social media and binge-watching the latest TV series before the items that will actually move my personal goals and dreams forward.
This leaves little time for much else, let alone a task that should have been first on my list, and I wonder why I never seem to accomplish anything great. The answer is embarrassingly simple: Because I didn't make it a priority.
Instead of filling your calendar with multiple events, or your daily agenda with to-do's that are only making you procrastinate the important stuff even further, take some time to go over your goals, and schedule the time to make them happen.
Want to write a book? Take 15 minutes a day to pump out 200-300 words. Need to get your finances back on track? Schedule in a weekly budget meeting with your spouse to go over receipts, and map out a budget that gives you a plan for your money.
If you really want to accomplish your dreams, you need to make time for them.
Priorities Can Change with Different Seasons
Although we need to put serious effort towards our priorities, we also need to realize that they will change depending on what season you're experiencing right now. And no, I don't mean seasons like Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer — I'm talking about the Seasons of Life.
For instance, last year was a huge year of blog growth for me. I said no to a lot of things (sometimes even cleaning my house!) in lieu of writing and doing the million other things that come with running a successful website. Now that I'm slowing down a bit, I'm able to bring back some of those habits I left behind. Because I'm in a different season right now, I'm able to adjust my priorities to reflect that.
Maybe you have young children, and in this season of life they are your priority right now. Or perhaps you are an older adult who has parents to care for. The key is to know what priorities are really a priority, and which ones you can drop for a few months (or maybe even years) without feeling guilty.
I am still working hard on this in myself. There are so many things I would love to make a priority, but I know now is not the time. And I have to be content with that, as hard as it might be to do so!
Priorities Need to Be Embraced … By You
Ever feel guilty because your priority does not align with what someone else thinks it should be? Ugh — I feel this way all the time! I'm a horrible people pleaser and it gives me anxiety to no end when I think someone is upset because of a choice I've made. But that's not how I want to live life, and that's not what I wish for you either.
Embrace your priorities, starting today. Take just 10 minutes to write down a list of everything that's really important to you right now, then go back and pick just 1 or 2 to focus on and priorities in this current season of life. Don't let anyone else guilt you because you're somehow not doing enough. I'd much rather do 5 things really well, rather than 50 that are not. Focus on your priorities and everything else will fall into place.
Not only will you feel more motivated, more refreshed, and more energized, you'll finally make this life the one you've always wanted — the Good Life. I want that more than anything, don't you?
In Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, Ruth Soukup will inspire you to take back your time, organize your home, improve your budget, and develop personal goals. Keep a highlighter nearby, because this book is jam-packed with quotes you will want to remember for years to come!
What priorities do you need to focus on right now?
Are there any you need to let go?
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