Name the three priorities in your personal life. If this took you some time then you may be sabotaging yourself by living unconsciously. Do the same for your professional life.
Again, without clarity in this area you may be wasting a great deal of your time and energy, and others’.
Slowly I’ve learned that if I don’t prioritize the responsibilities I have at home and at work, I get overwhelmed. So here are four easy steps to make sense of your responsibilities and be clear about what you really value. By doing this exercise regularly you will strengthen your personal boundaries, be able to say “No” more often, clarify which tasks belong to whom, and begin going down the road to letting go of attachment to outcomes.
First, create two columns. In one list ALL the responsibilities you feel you have at home. Be direct, blunt, curious, and clear. In the other column list ALL the responsibilities you actually feel you have at work. Do not refer to that magic “job description list.” Rather put down what you actually end up taking on as work-related tasks. Again, be direct, blunt, curious, and clear.
Second, check off those responsibilities in each list that you KNOW belong to others, but that you have chosen (yes chosen) to take on. No whining here! When we do more than we want to do we ultimately make a choice and we are responsible for that choice, no matter who seems to foist the task on us.
Third, number the rest of the responsibilities on your lists from 1-3, with 1 being the most important. Start with responsibilities that relate to core relationships at home and at work. A total of three per list is all you get right now. Most of us can handle well only about 6 major responsibilities at a time.
Fourth, look at what is left over on your lists. What can be passed on to someone else? Which of them can be ignored for the time being (yes, that may feel “messy” but many of us perfectionists just have to get used to messes!). Which of the left-overs seem to press your “need to control” button?” Using whatever spiritual practice you enjoy begin to surrender these left-over responsibilities to the universe and ask for wisdom as to how better to address them without taking them on yourself.
Prioritizing responsibilities is a great way to stop feeling overwhelmed by them and getting proper control over your life. It’s not a one-shot deal either…it’s something that has to be done continually, and especially when dealing with others, so that we are also sensitive to the priorities of those with whom we live or work. They’ll will grow to appreciate our newfound self-respect when it spills over to them!
Copyright 2017 Michael Parise
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