John C. Maxwell outlines “Priority Principles” in his book, Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know. There are many books and resources which teach us about becoming effective and powerful leaders in our professional lives.
What about taking some of those same principles and applying them in your personal life?
Let’s look at some of Maxwell’s "Priority Principles" and focus them in the direction of our personal roles as mom, wife, partner, friend, family member and community member.
1.) Priorities never stay put. Depending on where you are in life and what you want in life, your priorities are ever-changing. Before you had children, perhaps your career was at the top of the list. Once you have a family, perhaps that moves up and the career moves down. If you have health issues, that may move to the top. On a daily basis, your priorities also can change based on which family member has what going on, what big work project is in front of you, which friend is going through a rough time, etc.
As Maxwell suggests, there are three pieces to the priority puzzle which can help you determine what priorities need to be where at any particular time.
Evaluate your priorities on a regular basis (weekly, monthly). I encourage you to not only evaluate your priorities on a regular basis, but also get in the habit of discussing and evaluating your family priorities with your spouse/partner on a regular basis. Often arguments arise, resentment occurs, and disconnect sets-in when couples fail to share and discuss their individual and collective priorities, goals and dreams.
Eliminate the items from your list that can be done by someone else. Where can you get help? What are the things you don’t want to do, don’t like to do, or aren’t good at doing? You can have it all, but you can’t DO it all. Delegate what can be done by someone else faster, easier or better then if you try to squeeze it in with everything else on your plate.
Estimate how much time you want to spend of your top projects and priorities, double that, and then work it into your schedule. As multi-taskers, we often underestimate the amount of time it will take to do things, but we also underestimate the amount of time we want to do things. If you end up saying yes to everything you are invited to on the weekends, thinking that you can just stop by this party for 30 minutes, and then catch 20 minutes of your kids' game, and then spend an hour having coffee with a friend, only to find out that you would have loved to have stayed at the party longer, and then you were running late so you showed up at your kids game right when it was over, and then you had to end your great girl time talk with your friend in mid-conversation to make it to your next appointment... you see where I am going with this. How would it feel to say yes to less things so you have more time to enjoy your priorities.