Since March, I have been directing a play which is being performed at our local theatre this week and next week – we have a cast of thirty three (twenty six under sixteen), a stage management crew including lighting and sound, a band, and a troop of chaperones. Every individual involved is volunteering their own time as part of the amateur dramatics society, and this week the show is our priority outside of work, school and college.
As the co-director of the play, this has been a very interesting lesson in how different people prioritise their goals, and how we need to consider our priorities in a busy schedule. The main issues I have encountered are:
- Individuals trying to take on too many activities so that they cannot always perform at their potential.
- Individuals struggling on prioritising which activity is the most important at different times
- Adapting to changed priorities in a team project
“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.” – Oprah Winfrey
Several of our cast members do numerous weekly activities, and want to attend all of them. But when you have a day with four different activities after school or work it is impossible to focus completely on each activity and give your best performance. In order to achieve our potential, we need to make the decision to prioritise on a project, a deadline, a hobby – to perform at your best you need to be able to give enough preparation, energy and time.
Prioritise on the goal which gives you the most passion, enhances your learning and creativity, and gives you the most overall satisfaction.
When starting a project, this may not be the priority when planning our time. But as we reach a deadline, obviously, this must be a priority. We have one cast member who planned from March to take three weeks off rehearsal in May as he knew he had his GCSEs. As I had scheduled this in my own diary, this did not affect the rehearsals as we could have a stand in for his role, and I could plan to email up to date information.
Prioritising your tasks at work and in your personal life needs a long term plan so that you can alter your schedule when one area of your life must take priority – such as exams, a project deadline, or to accommodate other individuals and their schedules.
Plan ahead and prioritise in your schedule. Consider which activity requires your focus, energy and time if you have different goals at the same time.
We all like our schedules and to know what is happening each day or week. We all have our comfort zone in being prepared to expect different events each week. How do we deal with the change when our comfort zone is disrupted? How do we accept the change imposed on us by someone else’s priority becoming our team priority?
We may have regular team meetings on a Tuesday, or our invoices must be completed on this day, or the I.T. person always visits on a Wednesday. We all have our schedules which provide a comfort zone and enable us to behave automatically. Our “taxi driver” enables us to work efficiently around that known schedule.
But when our team leader or the CEO or manager announces a vital meeting on the day we usually have our network meeting, we are taken out of our comfort zone. We must consider the options and prioritise. Which meeting is the most important? How can I give my focus, energy and time most efficiently?
We need to consider the questions: What are my priorities both for myself and as part of the team I involved in? Which team must be prioritised? Then we must delegate the task which is not the priority at this time.
5 Tips to Prioritise Your Goals
Consider your Life List and your goals in the different areas of your life to prioritise them.
Plan your SMART goals and prioritise them for time.
Schedule your work towards your goals in your diary. Plan ahead so that you know to devote more energy and time to a goal that is the most important.
Have a Plan B to adapt your goals and schedule if a more important task is allocated to you.
When you have two tasks which clash in schedule, consider the pros and cons of doing both activities, or choosing one activity and not the other, or delegating to another person, and the consequences.
We all want to achieve our potential and perform to the best of our ability – sometimes we need to prioritise our priorities so that we perform our best when it matters and our team needs us most.