SMART Priorities Transcript
This episode is something that I feel like is very highly requested, but indirectly.
After things like talking about habit stacking, after block scheduling, after so many episodes, or so many chunks of stories that I put on Instagram about productivity and different steps that I take… I almost always get the follow up:
“Okay, but how do I know what I should prioritize in a block schedule?”
“How do I know what my priority should be?”
“I thought about the four burners, but there’s still so much within that.”
I love helping people with this. I think that this is so fascinating because each person has their own individual set of goals and outcomes that they want. And yet, our priorities can all be achieved by figuring out just the first five steps.
Now I will say, if you are trying to prioritize maybe an overwhelming to-do list, go ahead and start with the to-do list simplifier.
I’ve got a five step free PDF, and it just walks you through taking an overwhelming day-to-day to-do list and narrowing it down, so that you can focus on the right type of things.
But this is going to be a bigger set of priorities that we’re working towards.
How can we take so many thoughts and ideas and goals in our head and decide what is right for us to look at right now? Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to take something we’ve all probably heard about before.
If you’ve ever done any sort of goal setting workshop, I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals.
Well, I think that that’s a really great acronym. So I’m just switching some things up within it. And we’re going to make SMART Priorities.
To do this, if you have your list in front of you, or you want to jot that down really quickly, we’re going to go and take five steps. Cutting down and only saving chunks from those five steps. Only saving a set of things each time we go through. And at the end, you should be left with one, two, maybe three priorities. Any more than that, and you can’t really focus on it.
That will be your priority for this season. That will be something that you can look forward to working on and work towards achieving.
And when you need to start a new season, when you achieve that goal and that priority feeling is accomplished, then you just got to repeat these steps S-M-A-R-T. It’s going to be just as easy as that.
SMART Priority: S – Simplify
Let’s start with S, and that is it needs to be something that simplifies your life.
So if you look at your list, and there’s something on there that is not directly simplifying your life, it’s not a priority right now.
And I’ll tell you why this is step number one. It’s just like retirement and investing and all of these things. If we put in the time and effort upfront to simplify, you are going to get that time back tenfold down the line.
But if you wait and push off simplifying things, you didn’t save yourself any time ahead of it. And you probably had some things in that line that you could have gotten done, if you would have just simplified things earlier than that. And just simplifying is the way to go.
So if you have the task of maybe hiring a nanny, or finding a regular babysitter. Or maybe you are looking at trying to move careers, or jobs, or schools so that you can be closer to where your kids are going to school. Whatever is going to simplify your life, like decluttering, can be a priority now.
You’re going to cross everything off on your list that is not simplifying your life.
SMART Priority: M – Must Be Yours
Step two is very similar to a step on simplifying your to do list, it must be yours. I think this goes back all the way to episode two. If it is not your job, then you do not need to complete it. And if somebody else is capable of completing it, then it is not your priority.
So if you are a single mom and you need to find a babysitter, that’s going to be your priority because you are the one that has to find the person, trust the person and be willing to go through the process of all that.
If you’re looking to set up college savings for your kids, that is yours along with your partner’s responsibility. So it is not something that you can take on as your sole priority. It can be a family priority, but it is not just yours. And then I will go ahead and delegate setting up, and scheduling, some appointments to talk with people with your partner because that can be something that you delegate out to them.
SMART Priority: A – Actionable
Then A is for actionable. There are things that we wish we could prioritize. There are things that we wish we could work towards a goal right now. But there is no actionable step we can take right now.
For instance, I have decided to go to grad school because of course, why wouldn’t I add that on top of everything else. And while my priority could be getting all that set up…right now, there is no actionable step that I can take. There is nothing that is on my plate that I can do, because I have to wait for semesters to start. So I can get applied, but what else am I gonna do. I’m gonna be sitting there twiddling my thumbs. So there’s nothing actionable to be completed, it is not a priority.
SMART Priority: R – Realistic
Then R goes into realistic.
Maybe starting grad school shouldn’t have been as realistic for me as I think it’s going to be.
But there’s also things like, maybe you have this goal of just getting rid of all of your things, living in a tiny home, and driving it around the country. That fits simplifying your life. It’s something that only you can probably do for yourself. There are action steps you can take. Is it realistic right now?
This is where I bring you back to Earth. Just make sure before we set this as a priority, that it is something that actually fits in with your life as it stands right now. And if not, then we can make some other actionable steps to make it that way, but it might just not be in the cards for today and right now.
It’s the same thing with me trying to maybe start training for a half marathon. Right now as we go into winter with my asthma, I probably shouldn’t be training outside for a half marathon. It’s not realistic for the timing to line up right now. So that is not a priority for right now.
SMART Priority: T- Time Sensitive
And then the last thing is, make sure it is time sensitive. I guess everything in a way is time sensitive. I’m not saying the same way as your goals would be, right. If you’re setting SMART goals, they want you to make it time bound and set a deadline.
But there are some things that have to be a priority, just because they’re already either time bound, or it only makes sense in a certain stage of life.
If you have kids that are going off to college in the next couple of years, then maybe one of your priorities is something that involves doing something with them in the next two years. Maybe it is teaching them how to do certain life skills. And it’s time sensitive enough because you want them to feel confident when they go out on their own.
And the beauty about the time sensitive piece is that not everything is time sensitive. It helps you acknowledge what needs to come first, but after that, you get to decide in what timeline you want things done.
So if nothing actually has time sensitivity to it, then you set the time boundary, and that’s how you decide what the priority is.
So to recap:
- S – it needs to simplify your life.
- M – it must be yours to do.
- A – it needs to have actionable steps that can happen in a reasonable amount of
- R – it needs to be realistic for your life situation and scenario right now.
- T – prioritize things that are time sensitive.
If you visit this over and over again, then it’s gonna become second nature, and I hope that you find it makes prioritizing your tasks and your big dreams just a little bit easier. Until next time.
Episode 2: Is it REALLY yours?
5 Steps to Simplify Your To Do List
Unit Planning Kit
How to Find Me
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Keywords: priority, simplifying, realistic, actionable steps, sensitive, goal, prioritize, smart goals, delegate, list, systems