25 Jan

The Habits of Change, Part 4: Prioritizing

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

Lao Tzu

PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST: When I read this phrase I automatically think of prioritizing. Prioritizing can help immensely in goal setting. Some people do it automatically. I am not one of those people. I have to sort things out in my mind and get organized first mentally.

Especially for those of us that are multi-taskers and have various things going on all at the same time on a regular basis. It’s hard to get organized at times, and be ok with chaos or be ok with delaying outcome because we are prioritizing something else. But If you truly begin with the end in mind, you can prioritize accordingly and prioritizing can be the process to help you get things accomplished.

I recently had a friend over who helped me reorganize my office. It was on my mind but I wasn’t sure how to do it and when she walked into the room and started offering suggestions, it led to an immediate re-prioritizing and the organizational piece of my office was completed. Just like that. That simple task, as a result, has led me to wanting to spend more time in my office and be more at ease while working on my business and training. Something so simple can sometimes make such a difference. For me it was getting rid of clutter. What is holding you back from prioritizing? How can you over come this hurdle?

Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out what is more important and why. For example, if you want to launch your home business and the kids have commitments after school every day, and your partner is traveling, is now really the time to perfect your golf game? Golf is great and so is having a hobby. Good stuff, healthy in many ways. But what is more important? Where do you want your limited precious time to be spent? Prioritizing sometimes means acknowledging what has to come first and what needs to be sacrificed.

Often when I have a conflict of interest (in this case it might be wanting to play golf vs working on my business) I first have to understand what each goal will achieve. Things like feeding the kids, picking someone up, appointments and contract deadlines are kind of “no brainers”. They automatically go to the top of the list. And yes, I almost always have a list. I am a big fan of lists and post-its. Writing things out helps with organizing and prioritizing. And you can check them off when done. The basic “core” tasks like those mentioned above come first. And I don’t fight it, even if something comes up and I need to reprioritize and rewrite that list 10 times.

Perhaps I am burned out and need a break. In that case I might need to take time off and rejuvenate my energy by playing lots of golf to be able to come back to my other goal, my business and focus on that. Perhaps I need to suspend the items on the list and take a day off. I may not be able to complete one goal with out completing the other first. If it’s just a case of wanting to do both, and I can do both, I’ll try, but if one is time limited or deadline driven, I might prioritize that as the first order of business. It’s ok to not get everything done at once, and it’s ok to put things off for a while.

Sometimes there is a rhythm that automatically prioritizes for you and gives you the space to get through the tasks and objectives in a more orderly way. For example, waiting on someone else. When my web person goes on vacation, I have learned that that’s automatic down time for me for any web page projects I hope to achieve. My website is always a priority, and I am so committed to my website and my business that when I get a moment to take automatic time off, I have learned to take it. Her vacation time automatically repriotizes my goals and tasks. It’s turned out to be a nice break for both of us. For those of us that have home based businesses, learning to take time off or take a break is skilled practice which I am still learning about.

Having a realistic sense of time is also necessary to prioritize. If I wanted to play golf more, I would acknowledge that I need to get out on the course more, and then set a goal for myself. That way, when I achieve it, I get to acknowledge the achievement and also get a reward I already definitely want. In this example this goal is not income generating, it’s not time or deadline based and it’s definitely not going anywhere, so it’s an easy goal to move around. I know, realistically, when I can set a golf time, I might need to set up more times to get my “fix” and work my schedule differently to achieve this particular goal for a while. This kind of prioritizing gives you time to achieve it and a chance to enjoy the reward of something earned, often well deserved.

Questions: Are your goals aligned with your priorities and current time commitments? How can you align them better?

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

Recommended Reading:The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Related Posts:

The Habits of Change, Part 3: Picture Your Goal

The Habits of Change, Part 2: Be Proactive

Habits of Change, Part 1: Intro to Series

18 Jan

The Habits of Change, Part 3: Picture Your Goal

There is nothing permanent except change.


BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: Visualizing is a fantastic way to find the goal you have in mind and achieve it. Getting a job might be a simpler way to think about it but in actuality we know that each of us has a different idea about what “getting a job” means. Getting clear about what the job is, where the position is located, what type of industry it’s in, how much you’d like to get paid, what type of people you’ll be working with, and figuring out what you really want to be doing is helpful in achieving the task of “finding a job”. These are things, for example, that are easy to visualize. Visualizing helps get to the real end goal. Experts say when visualizing, be specific. The clearer the idea, the clearer the image, the goal and the outcome, the better chance you have at manifesting it. Change happens all the time, but how you influence and direct it is up to you. What is it that you really want?

To me, this part of the process is the most creative part and the most frequently bypassed. Sometimes we just want the end result but we don’t see what is needed to get there. Sometimes getting clear on what you really want it scary, so it’s easy to bypass. Then disappointment sets in as a new goal comes into the picture but it’s still not quite what you were looking for. This is a critical piece and a critical time.

Give yourself time in this part of the process. Take time to explore, fantasize and think up all the things you want, even if you know some of them won’t happen. Authentic freedom of expression helps with visualizing and creating ideas, goals or projects. It also helps with identifying your true values, desires and abilities. Give yourself permission to explore your mind and get to know your ideas. Get to know yourself and your values. Is what you are picturing, the end product what you truly want? Without placing judgment around it, why or why not is it? If you let go of expectation, judgment and fear, what does your goal look like? Really look like? Is that goal really ok with you? Allowing creativity in this process is important for visualizing and important in getting clear on what you hope to achieve. Visualize it. Think about it, write about it ,and manifest it.

Questions: Can you picture your goal? Is your goal in line with your values?

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

Recommended Reading:The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Related Posts:

The Habits of Change, Part 2: Be Proactive

Habits of Change, Part 1: Intro to Series

07 Jan

The Habits of Change, Part 2: Be Proactive

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

BE PROACTIVE: One of the most productive and powerful things a person can do when facing a change is to take action. Action that is specific to eliciting a different outcome. It’s often several small steps which lead to the end result. For example, finding a job. It may mean updating a resume, networking, applying for the position and interviewing, then accepting the offer. All together these actions lead to one end result, finding a new job. We know this is easier said than done but the keys are the action steps to get there.

Sometimes taking action is hard to do. We get stuck in our heads or familiar with a routine. We fear change, so we justify all the things that don’t work just to avoid the change that will invite things that do work. Human beings can be silly like this. You have to ask yourself: are you happy? Is this where you want to be? If the answers aren’t what you really want to hear then you ask the next question: so what are you going to do about it? You have to decide on action. You have to be willing to make a change and then make a commitment to the change. Are you willing to take the risk and move towards change and something better or stay feeling stuck and in mediocrity? It’s all up to you. Your thoughts and how you approach the idea of change is what will lead to taking action and will form the shape of what your success looks like.

Questions: What is it that you really want? What steps can you take to get there?
Recommended Reading: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

02 Jan

Habits of Change, Part 1: Intro to Series


Change in all things is sweet.


Stephen Covey wrote a famous book a while back called “7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”. It’s a beautiful exercise in understanding human behavior and also how to achieve success.

This book is definitely a “must read” on my personal list of referrals. It led to him writing a series of other really wonderful books, which you’ll see, mentioned on this site. I am a huge fan of his work, mainly because his ideas have profoundly influenced how I see the world and have helped me achieve success in my own life.

The concepts in the book are interrelated and more complex, much more than this blog. For the sake of blogging, for the next few posts, I am focusing on a lighter “fare” of the first 3 habits he outlines. This is what comes to my mind when I hear these phrases, especially in the context of transition and change.

*Stephen Covey defined “habits” as a culmination and inner working of knowledge, skill and desire, (pg. 47).

Recommended Reading:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

For more on my thoughts on The Habits of Change please read this series of posts.

01 Jan

A Quote for January

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

– Steve Jobs

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