Priorities are a personal matter. You may want to be promoted at work whereas a colleague may be interested in running an endurance contest and work is only a means to an end. Another fellow worker may be saving to start a home-based business or buy a house. The bottom line is this: case-by-case, priorities will be as varied as the individual. Your priorities are what should drive your planning and goal setting. Setting priorities is like setting the foundation for a home, priorities are the foundation we build upon to become successful.
To set priorities personally and professionally, you must first decide what is most significant to you. A good way to do this is to imagine looking back at your life twenty years from now. Which achievements would have been the most crucial to you? What would your life look like ideally? By analyzing what you think you want your future to look like, you can determine your priorities in life. Determining your priorities is a process and as such, should be done carelessly, take some time to really think about what you most want personally and professionally. You may want to categorize your priorities in order to more precisely determine what you feel is important. I often have clients examine their priorities for work, relationships, health, spiritual etc. By doing this you can get a more precise view of your life as a whole, and not just parts of it.
Your priorities should be reflected in how you choose to use your time, talent and treasure. You will have priorities just for yourself such as health and fitness priorities or personal growth and development priorities. If you are married or in a significant relationship, you will have priorities that relate to that relationship and can be discussed with that person.
Now that you recognize what your priorities are, you can determine goals with your priorities in mind. Although that sounds simple, it can often be very challenging to set goals that can balance the needs of all your priorities. If you prioritize both family and getting a promotion, there can often be a clash between the two. The things you do for each will take time away from the other. Wading through how to balance opposing priorities can be challenging but the effort is worth it.
Once you set your priorities and goals, make sure to write them down and keep them in a secure place so that you are able to refer to them frequently. Analyze your actions periodically to see whether they’re in line with your priorities. If they’re not, make adjustments where required.
Understanding what is important to you can provide a sense of direction that you can hold on to when life becomes overwhelming. Just because you have set your goals does not mean you will never be challenged. As circumstances change, knowing what is important to you will keep you grounded and save you a lot of time in worrying about the future. Knowing your priorities can act as a rudder to keep you moving forward, even if it is only a little a time.