Does this sound familiar? You know what you want out of life. You worked on your vision and know your values. You are ambitious and you are ready to work on your goals and your dreams. Yet, the realities of everyday life seem to be pulling you to so many directions that it is difficult to find focus and know how to prioritise.
Many women are juggling many roles. We have our careers, we are mothers or girlfriends. We may be working on something exciting on the side to create our bigger life for the future, such as completing a book project or studying for a new degree. Or we are working on our next career move. When we take on too much it’s easy to lose the sense of how to prioritise what actually matters.
We can see this kind of struggle in our global community of women and we constantly hear stories like Sarah’s:
“I am a mom to a beautiful 5 year old boy, working full time, and studying part time for a second degree. Each of these areas of my life have different priorities, albeit all have the same values and lead towards my overarching life goals. I really struggle to prioritise across everything, and often find myself not achieving a lot – or achieving a lot on one area, and then the other two falling. It’s a constant up and down.”
How to prioritise when everything is a priority?
Here are eleven surefire ways to bring focus, peace of mind and some kind of sanity to your everyday journey towards your goals.
CATCH the time robbers
You need to stop saying ‘yes’ to everything. When you are asked to help or do something, start by observing how you react to it. Are you doing it because your ego is driving you; or do you feel guilty not to help; is it just an obligation? List your ‘time robbers’. They stop you from reaching your full potential.
Who do you need to ‘be’
“Goal is a place to come from, not a place to arrive at.” Our expert coach Mandy Lehto explains that you should work backwards from your goal and think what would that person who has that success do. Reverse-engineer your journey and start ‘being’ that person today, don’t wait!
When we learn to maintain healthy boundaries and to say ‘no’ to things that are not aligned with our purpose we start preserving our energy and mental capacity and can do the things that really matter. You have a choice to either disappoint yourself or disappoint others. What will you choose?
Check your beliefs
Many of us carry limiting beliefs about work and how to be productive inherited from our parents such as “life is hard” or “you can’t achieve anything unless you work yourself to the ground”. You may believe that taking a break equals slacking so you will never have a chance to really connect with yourself. It’s time to let go of some firmly held beliefs about yourself in order to understand what matters the most.
Set your intention
Too often our heads are already filled with “oh no I got to do all of that today…” already when we get out of bed in the morning. We rush into what ever was left over from yesterday’s to-do list eager to get it completed rather than sitting down and connecting to our purpose first. Set aside five minutes (or even just one!) every morning to sit in stillness before you start. Your to-do list is not why you are here.
Eat that frog
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” – Mark Twain. The reason most people never do the really remarkable stuff, the things that shift your future in major ways, is that it doesn’t get done first thing in the morning. Your dreams are always outside of your comfort zone so start with work that feels uncomfortable. Just eat that frog!
Your goal should be to become deeply aware of the gifts you are here to share with the world. When you are at your desk, your priority is to get that one remarkable piece of work task done, the one that starts by eating that frog! Once it’s done, it’s ok to leave the mundane tasks for tomorrow or not do them at all. Go bake a cake, and be present with that. That’s now your priority.
Self love and kindness
We women especially seem to be expecting miracles from ourselves. We tend to create completely unrealistic expectations for our performance and feel deflated as we fail to reach those goals. You are enough as you are, even if you ‘achieved’ nothing today. Learn to love yourself and be happy about your progress each day. A simple act of showing up to your dreams is a great achievement.
Trust your timing
It’s unrealistic to think that you can make things happen in all key areas of your life at the same time. Become aware which area is calling your name right now and focus on that for a week or two leaving the other areas with less attention. There’s no secret formula how you need to crack to make everything happen at once. Trust your timing!
Don’t work too hard
Sometimes we keep labouring away and are unaware of the moments when we could shift things in meaningful ways with less effort. Slow down. Life is not supposed to be a struggle. You have all the knowledge you need to take the next step. Stop reaching to branches too far out and take an easier and a more gentle path.
Find a community
The world has been built on an overtly masculine value system and we’ve learned to worship heroes and leaders who ‘do it alone’. The feminine operates from a different place, from a place of connectivity and collective wisdom. When you have a question or get stuck, make sure to be surrounded with other people who are on a similar journey who can help know how to prioritise and can help you focus on the steps that align with your goals.