One benefit of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is that many of us have more time to reflect and realign our priorities. So, let me use this special moment and ask you three important questions:
- Do you have clarity about your life priorities?
- Have you written them down?
- Do you regularly plan activities to support these priorities?
If not, you can change this by reading the following.
Why is Clarity About your Life Priorities Important?
A very simple truth is:
When we do something – we don’t do everything else.Self.
To a large extent, it is our past decisions which have defined our lives and led us to where we are today. Like a blockchain, all our choices and decisions of the past are tied to the next: sequentially, unbreakable, and irreversible.
But every day, with every new choice we are making, we define our future. And of course, the better our decision making capability is, e.g. the clearer we are about our life priorities, the better the outcome of our decisions will be. And it is our lives we are talking about here.
Of course, we are not always free in our choices. And sometimes things – good or bad – just happen. But as we cannot control this, let’s focus on the things we can.
There is no favorable wind for the sailor who doesn’t know where to go.Seneca
Few people would disagree that having the right objectives is key to success in business. They guide us to make better decisions and optimally allocate scarce resources.
Of course, the same is true for our personal lives. Without clarity about your life priorities, it is hard to make the right daily decisions. Which leads to poor choices, bad results, and unfortunately to lives which are not as fulfilled/meaningful/happy as they could be.
So, to know what you really care about and what you are striving for is the best possible basis to lead a content and satisfying life.
How To Define Life Goals?
If you decide to think about your life priorities, this can be a lengthy and very personal process. But it is worth the effort. There are many ways how to do this. I suggest to just think about what you really care about. Again and again. Then try to condense this into 5 priorities which you subsequently write down in a catchy, memorable way
For me, life priorities are not goals which you can measure, achieve, tick off and then hop to the next one. Nor are they part of a “bucket list” which contains special things that you want to have done in your life like “I want to climb the Himalaya” (bucket lists are OK and fun, but not what I mean here).
For me, life goals are more like values or priorities which act as core guiding principles of our lives.
To help you, I have prepared a template (download here). It was inspired by a wonderful book, “The Big Five for Life” by John Strelecky (get it here). In this fictional, but realistic story, Strelecky underlines how important life goals are for personal happiness and achievements. He compares achieving life goals to seeing all Big Five animals of Africa during a safari.
To fill out my template is simple: Give each of the 5 priorities/goals a catchy name (e.g. Family First) and then describe them in more detail. To better remember this: Order them so that the 5 first letters form a word. Mine add up to “LEBEN” – the German word for life or to live. So, easy to remember!
How To Better Live In Line With Your Life Priorities
With new clarity about your life priorities, your ongoing choices and decisions will of course be constantly and positively impacted. Using Seneca’s famous proverb once again: think of your life priorities as the lighthouse which always shows the right direction to the sailor (you!).
As your life priorities are what you what you care about and what you are striving for, another useful approach is to regularly and consciously plan activities which are supportive of them.
You can e.g. once a year think about this and plan for 1 or 2 measure for each of your life priorities. What, when, how. Also for this yearly “plan” I have created a template (get it here).
A goal without a plan is just a wish.Antoine de St. Exupéry
Another option, which I show in my trainings is to integrate life priorities into a weekly planning rhythm e.g. using Outlook. This process creates a regular opportunity for you to plan small activities which are in line with your life priorities. Plus once a week, it will make you think about if you do enough in the areas that you really care about.
Do not delay. Start doing this now, as we all don’t know how long we are granted to live.
What Does This Have To Do With Productivity?
I am a productivity trainer, not a life coach. But I believe that motivation is key to peak performance in our jobs and our personal lives. And of course, we are motivated even more if we do things that are in line with our life priorities. So to have clarity about them, is the foundation from which your productivity – and much more – will thrive.
As a summary: The Covid-19 crisis might be an opportunity. Use this time of change to define and write down your life priorities and leverage this new clarity to improve your daily choices. Also, regularly plan for and execute concrete steps which are in line with you life priorities. This will without doubt help you to lead a more productive, successful, and content life.
Thanks for your comments, suggestions, likes and forwarding! Stay healthy!
Triple Eight Solutions helps SMEs, individuals and teams grow and become more productive. Our focus is Business Development, Marketing and Productivity Trainings. www.triple8solutions.ch