The One Thing That Will Help You Focus on YOUR Priorities

Season 8 has officially begun over on the podcast with Episode 092 this week! I am so thrilled to share some of the tips and tricks that I have used through the years as we focus on how planning for success each and every day can help us lead happier, more productive lives.

Now, you may be saying… Sure, planning for success seems easy enough when you say it out loud, but how can I actually put this into practice in my daily life?

The answer? By creating a system that will give you the space to focus on your priorities and to set yourself up for success.

So today, I want to examine that idea just a little bit more and talk about the importance of systems and how we can create them in a way that will work for us both at home and at work so that the success that we find is multifaceted.

Let’s get started!

The Importance of Systems

Here’s the thing: Having a system in place is crucial to our ultimate success… and not just on laundry day where I’m sure you have a system similar to my own (separating lights from darks, keeping towels separate, etc.).

Think about your goals… those BIG goals that take time and energy. How do we accomplish these goals? If you get 1% closer to your big goals – the huge goals – every week, then within a year you’ll be 52% of the way there. Seems simple enough, right?

Systems provide the structure for achieving our goals. But it’s important to note that, just because we have systems, it doesn’t mean that they are set in stone. What works for us now may not work for us in a few months or a few years. These systems are evolving, just as we are.

In our family and home life, we have many systems that we attribute our success to. Those systems have changed over time. For example, I used to work on our weekly plans for both home and work on Sunday afternoon; since I’m making a conscious effort to separate my work and home lives, I have moved to doing this on Sunday for home and Monday for work.

These are not to do lists though: they are actually priority lists.

The process of creating a priority list is important because it’s more than just a list — it is a system. I thought we needed to really dive into this idea today because, while we recognize that planning is key, I’ve found that so many people don’t really have a structure for how to plan. If we don’t know how to plan, we wonder why we feel overwhelmed and why we have such a hard time meeting our goals.

So now, let’s take a look prioritizing our goals and a few other ways in which we can start to create the systems that we need at home and at work so that we can set ourselves up for greater success in the future.

How to Create Systems

WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS –

Writing our goals down is the first step in creating your own path to success. Did you know that we are 42% more likely to achieve goals that are written down than those that aren’t? It’s true! And to me, that number is huge.

Part of the reasoning behind this is due to the endowment effect which indicates that we are more successful if we feel that an idea or a task belongs to us.

Writing our goals down is the same thing as taking ownership of them. This is why it’s key to understanding and owning our day; we set those rhythms when we decide what’s most important.

Without this sense of ownership, we can begin to feel like we are at the mercy of everyone else’s demands… and that’s hardly ever a good thing, right?

 

PROCESS –

When we process, we look at each day individually rather than planning for the entire week. This gives us some flexibility to make changes, because we don’t always know what life will throw at us!

Using the Weekly Kickstart as a guidepost, for example, empowers you to use the beginning of each day to set up your tasks. Being adaptable and moving things around is so necessary when it comes to planning for success.

Taking the time to process allows us to make the things that need to be done achievable. And that’s what is really important: Setting yourself up for success.

 

PRIORITIZE –

We talked about creating priority lists on Episode 33 and we discussed how to prioritize effectively on Episode 62. While most of us can acknowledge the need for a priority list, the important thing to note here is that we sometimes struggle with how to prioritize.

While I dive into this a little bit more this week on Episode 92, for now I will say this: Using a priority list allows us to designate task importance. We determine which are Immediate, Important, or Insignificant; it empowers us to prioritize those items that must be addressed first.

This frees up our time and energy to focus on the remaining tasks, and overall, provides us with a firm foundation to achieving those bigger goals we set for ourselves!

 

PROTECT YOUR TIME –

This idea may seem a bit daunting, especially for those of you that have kids at home or a host of things going on at work and in your personal lives. But, I think protecting your time is one of the most important things that we can do when creating systems and setting ourselves up for success.

When we protect our time, we fill our calendar. That’s right – fill it!

In the morning during your process time, I want to encourage you to put your most important tasks into your schedule first. Doing so will not only empower you to identify your priorities, but it will also prompt you to give them the most time—the time that they deserve.

Schedule batch time for checking email and doing other similar tasks… and block your time so that you make sure that you’re giving yourself the space to tend to the things you have written down (this is key).

If you’re unsure of how to protect your time or to really assess your priorities, don’t worry! We’ll be discussing these ideas even further in episodes still-to-come on the podcast. But for now, tell me: What are some of the systems that you have at home or at work that have worked well for you in terms of your own success?

 

Share your ideas in the comments below, and tune into Episode 092 of Productivity Paradox where I’m talking all about creating systems AND am sharing my own planning system called the 5P System. You won’t want to miss it!

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PODCAST: Episode 092: Creating a Planning System

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton