I used to think I was terrible at prioritising. There are just so many things that we’re supposed to do – eat healthy, sleep for at least eight hours every night, exercise regularly… I always assumed I was incapable of making myself do these things. I was prepared to accept myself as someone who was rather weak-willed and move on with my life.
I’ve since realised that what I lacked wasn’t the ability to prioritise, but the ability to prioritise things I don’t actually want to do. When I really think about it, I’ve been prioritising all my life – it’s just that it hasn’t seemed like I have been.
Think back to the last task you just knew you should do. What were you thinking?
Were you thinking about how much you didn’t want to do it? Were you thinking about how much easier it would be to do something else instead? Did you eventually decide to give yourself “five more minutes,” only to find yourself buried deep in a Netflix binge three hours later?
Maybe this specific example hasn’t happened to you, but the concept behind it happens to the best of us. We prioritise things we actually want to do over the things that we don’t. What a revolutionary concept!
Since having this little lightbulb moment I’ve finally been able to comprehend the fact that I can actually prioritise, I just haven’t been prioritising the things I think I “should” be. Since then, I’ve started relearning how to prioritise these tasks.
For me, the only way I can get unlikeable tasks done is to make them likeable. For instance, heading to the gym isn’t going to do anything for me – I hate it, and that’s all there is to it. If I tried to force myself to do this I would just end up unmotivated, then discouraged by my lack of motivation. I would stop doing it because it’s not enjoyable and doesn’t make me feel good.
Instead, I need to find a form of exercise I enjoy – dancing, yoga, walking, etc. This way I can exercise relatively consistently because it’s a positive part of my day, not a negative. This in turn makes it so much easier to prioritise.
You’d think this idea would be fairly simple, but it took me a really long time to grasp. I’m still learning how to apply this to other aspects of my life I don’t really like. Maybe once I’ve figured it all out, I’ll let you know how it goes.
- Did you think you were terrible at prioritising?
- What are you best at prioritising?
- What are you worst at prioritising?
- Have you gotten any better at it or are you still working on it?
Shout out to Ivory Mix for the images used on this post.