At the end of a rough day, you might say to yourself, "Dang, my priorities were a, b and c, but I spent all my time on x, y and z." Wrong! Your priorities were actually x, y and z, because that's what you spent your time doing. You want to get intimate with your real priorities? Try this:
- Track every minute of your days for a week on a spreadsheet.
- Evaluate the patterns as they arise.
- Compare how you actually spent your time with your list of intended priorities.
- Comment below on the results.
You'll likely find that consciously observing your time in this way narrows the gap between what you intended to do and what you did. Great. Now, the crucial habit to develop is to be aware of that gap - to always ask yourself, "Which of my priorities am I working on right now?" If it's not on the list you made, are you trading your time for something that's become more important, or not?
Look closely at the gap between what you say you'll do and what you actually do. Consider whether the priorities you're setting are realistic. Do they play to your strengths? Are you excited about the work required to get them done? Is there someone you work with that might be better at them? Consider the things on which you're actually spending your time. Are they worth it? You are now several steps closer to organizing the list with what you actually accomplish.