your priorities in order! You've probably heard that cliche ever since you were a child. Getting your priorites
out of whack is easy, though, when your son's soccer game is at 3:00, your daughter's soccer game is at 3:30 (across
town, by the way) and the house hasn't been thoroughly cleaned in three long weeks. In the meantime, the phone
is ringing off the hook (and more than half of the calls are sales and marketing pitches), the dog has gotten into
the wastebasket in the bathroom, and you realize that you have yet to take out anything from the freezer for dinner.
Prioritizing has two main components: a mindset and an action
plan. One cannot exist without the other, and to
do only half the job will have little or no effect.
Setting your mindset. If you have a "firefighter" personality--if your day often consists of going
from one "fire" to another and putting them out--start your change in mindset by changing your approach.
Many of the "fires" that you are probably putting out may be better left undone in order to concentrate
on those things that are the most important. The only way to test this is to stop before you do a task and ask
yourself: "do I really need to do this now, or would it be better if I left it undone and concentrated on
something more worthwhile?" Analyze your activities to see if you are prioritizing them--giving attention
to those tasks that need the most attention--or simply reacting to the tasks that "yell the loudest."
Developing your action plan. Once you have made the committment to prioritizing as a goal, it is time
to put your mindset into action. Use a "to-do" list to prioritize your activities. Sometimes, when put
into writing, a seemingly important activity will lose a lot of its supposed importance and can be religated lower
on your task list. Get your time management
skills in order--they go hand in hand with
prioritizing. It takes work before it becomes habit. You'll spend some time spinning your wheels as you begin to
make decisions as to what is important--a top priority--and what carries much less importance--a low priority,
but this "experimentation" with your priorities is what sharpens your skills.
Family Manager by Kathy Peel. This book presents a revolutionary program that reveals how to maintain
a low-stress, well-organized home. Among the program's components are tips on time and scheduling, home and property
management, financial advice, special projects, and easy meal preparation. Available at 20% savings at Amazon.com.