We have so many demands facing us today. If we’re not careful, we’ll let the urgent take over the important.
In order to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed by all the possibilities of things that we could do, it’s important that we learn how to determine our priorities. It’s our priorities that will keep us moving forward on our goals and will help us to fulfill the purpose God has on our lives.
I love the example that Stephen Covey, co-founder of FranklinCovey, shared about the importance of knowing our priorities. He told about a professor that showed his students a big jar. He had big rocks, gravel, sand, and water to fill the jar. The professor demonstrated how if you put the gravel, sand, and water in first, the big rocks won’t fit. However, if you put the big rocks in first, the gravel, sand, and water will fit in around them.
The big rocks represent our priorities, those things that are most important to us or responsibilities that we may have. The gravel is the important, but not most important, things in our lives. And the sand represents the non-urgent things that often distract us. When we don’t define our priorities and protect them, we will let the little things of life take over and take the space we should have reserved for the big rocks.
I think it’s important to note, though, that our priorities will change according to the season we are in our lives. For instance, one of my current priorities is taking care of my children. That means I spend the time necessary to meet their basic needs while training them to take care of themselves once they graduate from high school and college and are on their own. In a few short years that will no longer be a top priority. It will shift to being a support rather than being an active force in their lives.
Here are a few tips to help you determine your priorities:
1. Decide what’s most important to you right now.
We all have responsibilities that we need to take care of. However, there can also be other things that are very important to us.
Take some time to figure out what is most important to you in this season of your life. Write down the activities and/or tasks you need to do to make those things happen.
2. Take a look at your goals.
Look at your goals and see what you need to do to move forward on them. If you can’t find a way to fit in the tasks it will take to complete the goals, you may want to reassess. Maybe you are not as committed to those specific goals as you thought.
3. Re-evaluate your schedule.
After you have determined what’s most important to you, assessed your responsibilities, and looked at your goals, see what your current schedule looks like.
Does your time reflect these important things, responsibilities, and goals?
If not, it’s time to re-evaluate your schedule. It’s important that we evaluate and adjust as needed so that we can live a life that reflects our priorities.
What are your current priorities?