Episode 31: Priorities
Nine more episodes to record before my 40th birthday in less than a month. It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve paused to record a podcast. I’m learning that this podcast is actually a great tool to help me slow down and reflect. As much as I’ve wanted to stop and record, I’ve been focused on school and a lot of work. One lesson in life I haven’t seems to learn is how to stop piling things on. So here are a few words around priority setting from the Queen of Doing Too Much here on the View 112 Podcast.
Hi there. I’m so excited to be back with a new podcast episode. Like I said in the open, I’ve been grinding. Here’s the last 90 days in a nutshell: I took 4 classes during the busiest professional season of my career. This past Saturday, I turned in my final projects and tests. I finished all of my school work just in time to give my all in this last push of the year. I knew going into this season I would be extremely busy. I set the plan myself so I knew what I was getting into. In fact, in Episode 29, I talked about being 4th quarter clutch and finishing the year strong. Here I mentioned weekly reviews of your quarterly plan. Now that I’ve got through the last 90 days, I understand a few more lessons around priority setting:
Be Specific. Allow me to read some definitions of the word “priority” that I googled and found on dictionary.com: 1. A preferential rating: especially one that allocated rights to good and services usually in limited supply. 2. Something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.
When I have a lot of things piled on my plate, I repeatedly have to remind myself with a question: What is your top priority Jeanita? This part of the definition that says “services in limited supply” for me the resource that is most limited is time. I’m actually grateful for this because there have been points in my life in which my most limited resource was money. Today its time. In priority setting I’ve learned I need to be very specific, and very honest about how I’m going to spend my time. To go deeper into specifics, let me give you an example: This semester, I took 4 classes. Every semester, the school says online and in the class that you need to dedicate a minimum of 6-10 hour per week to a class. I ignore this advisement every single time. Taking 2 classes at a time in subjects that require a lot of focus from me would require 12-20 hours per week. And I took FOUR of them. I work roughly 50 hours per week. Had I mapped out these details of the amount of time I would actually be spending working I may have rethought wearing myself with this YOLO mentality of school and work this time of year. You see, there’s more to priority setting than simply understanding your top priority, you also need to understand the supply of resources available. Gotta be clear and specific about the limitation of some resources and the priority itself. Which brings me to...
Be Honest with Yourself. I am one of those people that doesn’t want to plan to fail. In my core, I believe that if you want to win big, you gotta play big. When I set goals and plans, I play big. The flaw in this is often I am overly optimistic about what actually can and cannot be accomplished. It’s also important to be honest with yourself about why you’re setting out to accomplish things in the first place. I am challenged with this sometimes too. I often question my motives behind things. Like why do I want a college degree? When I take on a project at work that I know I don’t have time for, I have to reevaluate why I said yes. Is it because I want to been seen in a certain way? Is there recognition or validation I’m seeking? If so why? What will accomplishing X goal do for you? What’s the point? Do you want to brag? Do you want other people to think you’re accomplished? Will you even feel accomplished? Why is feeling accomplished at this so important to you? I can and do go on and on with this line of questioning to be honest with myself. Once I’ve ironed out the truth with myself, it helps me to stay focused on what I’m setting out to do and avoid derailments or temptations.
Curve those Competing Alternatives. You know I love me a Jay Z quote so here is one: "I’m clear why I’m here. How bout you?” Once you are clear, its easier to stay focused. Right now for example, I am just about 3 weeks away from celebrating my birthday in Mexico. I’ve also been more focused on losing weight. I joined a new gym, Orangetheory Fitness and I’m so into it. I have also been eating much cleaner. As busy as I’ve been with school and work, its been hard not to just cave in and go for take out or order a pizza. I’m a big stress eater (and drinker to be honest) and this time of year is certainly a time I would overindulge. There are times that I”m too tired to workout. But I’ve been honest with myself about how I want to look and feel. I’ve been specific and realistic about how I’m going to accomplish this feeling. As a result, I can curve those competing alternatives of food. When I’m at Orangetheory, I play no games with the work out. I’m clear every time I step up in there about what it is I’m working toward.
For a few weeks, this podcast was a competing alternative. My priority is school, the career that I love also pays the bills, and I’m to snatch up this 40 year old body and there are only so many hours in the day and week. That being said, now that school is over for this semester, I’m glad to be back! Talk to you next time!