Confession: I prioritize based on interest, even though I heard my whole career that this was not 'real' prioritization.
That is simply not true.
What if it's okay to decide what to do based on what we want to do? *gasp! never!* Nothing would get done, the sky would fall, and we'd end up broke.
This is also not true.
Humans thrive when we can exercise agency.
We each have unique ways of getting things done, even though the world is actively working to rid us of them and keep us on The Great Hamster Wheel. I've got two things to say about this -- listen to your body and stop assuming you're the problem.
"We live in human bodies that require care." - Mara Glatzel
Many of us need to decide what's important based on our mood and energy. Though often unpredictable, these data points are critical when it comes to prioritizing.
If you find yourself struggling to get to the things that "need to get done," it could be an issue in your body.
Are you thirsty...tired? Are your hormones dipping? Are you operating with chronic stress? (hello, pandemic - the answer is yes.)
Doing what's important is extremely difficult if your body is running on fumes.
You can start small with hydration. Try asking yourself throughout the day if you're thirsty. Trust me, this tiny turn toward yourself can result in deeper awareness. Your instincts are not the problem.
Sometimes we sense something is not a priority, and we are right.
Have you ever had tasks on the list that nobody ever asked about? Perhaps you came up with the idea, got encouraged to pursue it, never did it, and now can't mark it off the list. You're not wrong. Those things nobody cares about are NOT a priority.
Our heads are full of self-doubt and fear.
Before you beat yourself up this week about the stale items on your list, ask yourself these questions.
Who is waiting on it?
What must get done this week?
What's my energy like today?
What does my body need?
What am I capable of getting done?
What could tiny progress look like on The Thing I'm avoiding?
What do I want to get done?
I know a lot of "experts" tell us that our brains are bad at knowing what's important. I don't believe that.
We know what's important -- that's why our inner critic is so mean. But, we need energy, support, and interest to light up our attention system.
We don't manage our lives or work according to the Daytimer template. We pretend we do, but it's a lie we tell ourselves.
You can stop punishing yourself. You can stop telling yourself you're bad at all things.
Asking for help when you need it is a strength. It's difficult to see it that way when you're stuck in shame over how you order your time.
Your way of moving through the world is not inherently wrong. The world needs you, regardless of what the Great Hamster Wheel operators make you think.
What's one thing you can do to listen to your body today?