The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 09, 2008 • Issue 08:06:01
Prioritize with purpose
||People first, then money, then things.|
- Suze Orman
For most folks, the days just aren't long enough to accomplish all the tasks set out to be tackled. So we compromise. We dedicate a little less time to one aspect of our lives to have more time and energy for another.
But, how we compromise and budget our time has a huge effect on the fruits of our labor. Our instincts may be to devote less attention to the parts of daily life that we think can run on auto pilot. Unfortunately, the people and commitments we feel don't require our full attention usually provide the most value for our efforts, personally and professionally.
It is common to overlook the importance of family, friends, long-time customers and even ourselves. We take friendships and sometimes our own personal care for granted and believe relationships and our health can thrive without our full attention. They cannot.
What we neglect will suffer. And if vital aspects of our lives suffer, we as individuals will never realize our full potential, both in our personal and business lives.
Most of us make an effort to participate in significant family events - school plays, graduations, anniversaries and birthdays. But what about the everyday stuff? While the milestones and events are important, so is talking about a person's day, discussing current events or asking how someone is feeling. Often those little, one-on-one moments are equally or more significant than graduation parties or playoff soccer games.
It can be difficult to maintain friendships when time is committed to other priorities. But, a lunch with a friend, or a 10-minute chat on the phone can lift your spirits (not to mention your friend's), give new perspective and alleviate stress - all of which help to make you a more contented person. And a happier person can become a stronger and more effective employee and service provider.
It is tempting to overlook your low-maintenance merchants. But these customers are the bedrock of your business: They deserve special attention. You want to keep them happy because:
- Helping their businesses grow will increase your revenue.
- They offer valuable endorsements, referrals and word-of-mouth advertising.
Probably the most overlooked part of our lives is ourselves. When was the last time you took some time out for yourself? When did you last read a book just for fun? Or prepare a tasty and nutritious meal and then sit down at a table (not the couch) and enjoy it?
Taking the time to replenish yourself intellectually, emotionally and physically makes you more energized and relaxed. You will be a better friend and family member at home and a better service provider at work. You may even be willing to make time for tasks you previously avoided.
Make time for what matters
Analyze the things that matter in life. Identify your biggest and most important results, measured professionally in income and job satisfaction and personally by your measure of happiness and enjoyment in activities.
Make time for the people and things in your life. This may mean a weekly appointment becomes biweekly, or a meeting that normally requires an hour drive each way is now conducted via webinar or phone conference. You may need to trust your staff with more responsibility, or explore outsourcing options.
No aspect of your job and life can take care of itself. There is no profit, personally or professionally, in shortchanging your family, friends, merchants - or yourself.
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