So maybe from the title you think I am stating the obvious. Without setting priorities, your life can quickly become a series of tasks that distract from reaching your goals. But you might be surprised by how many people let this simple truth get in the way of their success and happiness.
Let’s break this down a bit, so you can stay on track to reach your goals.
Goal-Oriented, or Task-Oriented?
Is your life task-oriented or goal-oriented? Are you finding that you’re busy with tasks that distract you from the life you’d like to create for yourself, or are you careful to ensure that every day you’re doing the things that will bring you closer to your life’s goal?
As I’ve said many times before, life is a grand experiment. Most of us have the ability to determine what kind of life we’d like to create for ourselves (or, who we’d like to be when we grow up). In order to do this, we need to determine what’s required to bring our dream into our reality and then break these requirements down into daily tasks.
When we commit to working at these tasks diligently, consistently and positively, we find ourselves progressively closer to our goal with each passing day. People who approach their lives in this manner are goal-oriented because their goal (or dream) determines their daily tasks. In other words, the goal becomes the filter by which all tasks must pass.
Conversely, task-oriented people let the demand of life’s many daily “urgencies” determine how they’ll spend their time each day — whether the tasks take them closer to their life goals or not.
Priorities and Time Management – It’s Really Life Management
Many of us have a tendency to see time management as a way of controlling or organizing our daily tasks. We spend billions of dollars each year buying calendars, planners and timesaving devices and apps to help us organize ourselves better as we struggle to cram all of our tasks into a finite amount of time each day.
However, in the process we sometimes neglect the concept of life management. The principles of life management dictate that life is an accumulation of our tasks and our actions. As we manage our time, we need to remember that the accumulations of our tasks will, to a great extent, determine our lives.
As an advisor, I ask all of my clients and their employees to question all that they do. I ask that they carefully evaluate each and every task in their daily lives and rank each as a “one,” “two” or “three.”
Rank Your Tasks Based on Goals
- A “one” indicates that this task will bring you closer to your goal.
- A “two” indicates that this is a maintenance-oriented task. (This might include maintaining your health, relationships or current obligations.)
- A “three” indicates that this task doesn’t maintain your obligations or bring you closer to your goal. In others words, your probably shouldn’t be doing this task at all. A “three” is a task that we need to let go of.
Let Go of the “Threes” and Focus Your Priorities
The “threes” steal our lives away from us one day at a time. We do them out of habit or because we have some unfounded sense of responsibility to do them.
The “threes” keep us from the things in our lives that we should be doing. Life management requires that the “threes” need to be simplified, delegated or just plain left undone. (Yes, undone.)
If you’ve ever been hospitalized or incapacitated for a long period of time, you may have been frustrated by not being able to attend to all of your tasks. You may have also been a bit surprised at how little it mattered when a great number of these tasks went undone. You probably arranged to have your “ones” and “twos” attended to in you absence and were forced to let the “threes” go undone.
Take the time to review, prioritize and categorize your daily tasks. In your efforts to become goal-oriented rather than task-oriented, you must realize that your success in life won’t be measured by how much you can cram into a day, but by how true you are to the daily tasks that build toward your desired future.
Most of us dream of the future never realizing a little arrives every day. Stay true to your “ones,” let go of your “threes,” and bring your dreams into reality one day at a time.
(c) Joe Caruso and Caruso Leadership