How Setting Priorities Can Free Your Time

Setting priorities seems like a such a no-brainer self-help topic. Boring, simple, we get it, Autumn. Moving on…

But if you ever find yourself saying you “don’t have enough time,” you are likely suffering from the failure to set and honor priorities.

Setting priorities allows you perspective to focus.

That renewed focus and clarity that comes from setting priorities can be a magical tool for finding more time.

One of the reasons so many of us struggle to “find the time” is because we are not being decisive about how we spend our time. We take everything that comes at us.

We live our days drinking from the fire hose.

We check every email that comes in, we answer every phone call, we review every text message, we answer every knock at our door. We allow all those daily interruptions be more important than what we were currently engrossed in.

We allow little distractions to be our priority in that moment.

Setting priorities allows us to determine where we are going to focus our energy in any given day. That perspective allows us to be thoughtful about how we answer those interruptions and distractions.

If you are working on your top priority project for the day, why are you answering that knock at your door? Why are you keeping up with your emails in real time?

Think about when you are on an important deadline that is fast approaching and how everything else loses its ability to distract you. Suddenly, you are a master at saying “no,” at silencing your phone or emails for 2 hours, at ignoring those knocks on your door.

When you set priorities you can access that focus and determination at any time.

When you set priorities you allow yourself the freedom to starting flexing your “no” muscle so that you can stay focused.

Setting priorities is a fluid practice. I start each day by writing out my work priorities for the day. Each week, I write out my priorities for that week. Each week is different.

If you don’t have clear priorities established before your start calendaring your week, you will set yourself up for a disaster: a calendar full of 10 million things, none of which are consistent with what you really want for your life. When you have your priorities clear, you can schedule those tasks first and fold in the rest.

When we find ourselves running out of time, what we really mean is that we run of time for the things that really matter to us.

This happens because we are allowing the minutia to fill our calendars before we schedule our priority items. It’s easier to go with the flow and get distracted at every turn. Honoring priorities and saying “no” is hard.

Do the hard work and start focusing on what’s important to you. The rest can wait.

Don’t jump out of bed and start running the marathon right away. Take a moment and chart the course before you start the race.

By allowing every distraction that comes into our lives to take top priority in that moment, you are failing to set and honor clear priorities.

This seems like a simple practice but it requires you to commit to yourself and honor your goals. Need support? Sign up for a free session now.

Want to get an in-depth look at how to find more time and get more done? Check out my FREE on-demand webinar, Find More Time, Get More Done for Attorneys. (And yes, it works for non-lawyers too.)

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