You can’t get more hours in the day.
I can’t get more hours in the day.
Neither can anybody that you know.
But have you looked at your priorities lately? Have you examined the choices that you make that reveal the priorities that you have?
Your priorities matter more than how you spend your time. But this is tricky because, while it may be obvious to us (and everybody else) what our priorities are when we choose what to have at lunch between a roast beef sandwich or a vegetable dish, it’s only obvious to us (and not so much to anybody else) what our priorities are when we choose between being engaged or disengaged in a conflict.
Priority management reveals our deepest choices, desires, and motivations around, under, and above, the thing we talk about valuing the most—our time. Talking about the choices that undergird our priorities is not sexy or exciting. It’s sharp, cutting, and sometimes embarrassing. Which is why it’s easier to write about being productive, or “managing” time, rather than training adults in how to prioritize their lives by examining the stories they have chosen to create around their lives, and the lives of others.
Like many things in our lives, the thing that matters even more than our priorities (which are revealed after we make a decision) is the narrative we tell ourselves about our priorities before (and after) we make the decision to act on them. Or not.
To go back to the previous example: You may choose the roast beef sandwich because you think that meat tastes better because you were raised in a household where meat was eaten 3 times a day. Another person may choose the veggie dish because they think that the roast beef is too fatty and salty, and they’re trying to lose weight and eat better because they want to sit on the beach without embarrassment in August.
So, one makes roast beef, or veggies, the priority, then they order lunch in a blink, and they don’t beat themselves up over it.
But the story changes when the stakes are higher, like in the story we tell ourselves about what we do at work, the work that we have chosen to do, or the tasks we are asked to do at work. The story changes when we have to choose between priorities at home, and priorities in the community.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: email@example.com