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How to prioritize what matters most to you

By Markus Wiklander

A key to success is your ability to focus on what matters most to you. Yet, the truth is that we spend a lot of energy and time on things that really don’t matter. And when I do, I get bored, tired and boring. So, why is it that we don’t prioritize what matters most?

Most of the time, we don’t actually reflect on what matters to us. We get hijacked by others, our work environment, noisy media, successful celebrities, emotional roller coasters, or simply mundane routines.

What’s the point in reaching your goal if you give up everything that matters the most?

Through coaching others and in my own personal development, I’ve noticed a common behavior. When we try to achieve a specific goal, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. For example, you may focus so hard that you forget to prioritize the other important things in your life and you wear yourself out.

Here are three simple practices that I use to stay on track with my goals and my overall vision of what I want my life to be. I’m positive that this will help you take control, grow and redefine your journey forward.

1. Write down what matter the most to you

Begin by asking yourself this question: “What matters the most to me?”. Even though this might sound trivial and too easy, I find it challenging and always refreshing.

To help you get the full panorama perspective, consider these categories in three circles:

  1. Me: my personal well being, my health, my personal goals
  2. The people close to me: family members, close friends, colleagues
  3. The world around me: clients, teachers, my people, my city, my country, the state of the planet

What I find to be the key is to ask why I’m doing what I’m doing now. How is it adding to my desired contribution to my community, my family, my personal growth; i.e. the things that matter the most to me?

Remind yourself of the things that matter the most to you. Cover the three circles to get the full perspective.

Once you have defined what matters most to you it will be a whole lot easier to prioritize what matters most on a daily basis.

2. Find your reset button to re-prioritize what matters most

Sometimes my mind is racing. Sometimes I become aware of it instantly and other times I don’t realise it until it’s too late – when the day or the week is already over.

For me a reset button might be walking by the ocean, listening to music, working out, taking a break and journaling, or calling a family member. The sooner we become aware of us spiralling, hitting the pause and reflect button to remind ourselves of what matters, the more focused on our goals and overall wellbeing we become.

What will your reset button be?

3. Become aware of transitions and set your intentions

For me, this step has been very powerful this past year. As working from home melted every task into a big unrecognisable chunk.

Jumping from family breakfast to facilitating a workshop. From hosting a virtual lecture to Skype meetings. From one-on-one coaching sessions to laundry, dinner and time with my kids. Not giving myself one second to reflect and hit pause is unsustainable.

Instead, allowing time to set the intention of how and who I want to be in that next context has been life-changing.

Do this whenever you’re about to start a new task – like breakfast with your family, jump into a video call or check out from work. Be sure to close all the mind threads from one context, and set the intentions for the next context you’re about to transit into.

  • What do you want to do now?
  • How can you be true to what matters most to you in this context?
  • What positive impact would you like to have on the people in that context?
  • What would you like to learn?

Make it a habit to prioritize what matters most!

Now, make this a habit. In order to do so you may have to force yourself in the very beginning. And after a while, it’ll be like riding a bike.

By using the tools above of awareness, resetting and setting intentions, you’ll notice a shift. You will become more aware of where you are, what you’re prioritising, and how it contributes to what matters the most for you.

Share what matters to you with the people close to you. And, in turn learn about what matters to them.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. We’d love to support you as you move forward in defining your life by what matters most!

Get more support to prioritize what matters most with our free guide – Design Your Day: 5 Shifts to Go from Overwhelmed to Focused.

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Markus Wiklander

I’m the co-founder of Grow & Redefine. As an agile coach, business development expert and entrepreneur, I look forward to supporting you on your journey to define your life and business by what matters most. 
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