Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

May 2016

Other Zines

In This Edition:
1. What Is Important To You
2. Your Priority Card

What Is Important To You

Do you identify something as important to you and then give it no energy? Do other lesser items get much more of your attention? If so, chances are you haven’t identified what’s important to you — you only have lingering notions. For example, Jason says he values seeing his parents often, but he only makes the 36-mile round trip twice a year, once in the late Spring, once in late December. Carolyn says enjoying the weekends is important to her, but she’s worked 12 Saturdays in a row.

Making and reaffirming choices about what is important and how you would like to allocate your resources is crucial. As I tell my audiences, you need to make your choices away from the rabble, and to acknowledge the fixed components of your existence. So what’s fixed? Youth, young adulthood, and middle age are finite. Your productive work life is finite. Change is guaranteed. Life is finite; death is guaranteed.

The choices confronting most individuals often come down to the same few issues: career advancement versus a happy home life; income goals versus income needs; and social, peer or employment induced priorities versus individual wants or needs.

The things most meaningful to you in life are, by definition, your priorities. Priorities are broad elements of life, and they often become misplaced somewhere within your daily high-wire balancing act. In this society and in this era, it is wise to have only a few priorities. If you have too many, you’re not likely to respect each of them. At some point, too many priorities become paradoxical — only a few concerns can be of priority!

So, in establishing your priorities, I suggest the following:
  • List everything that is important or that you wish to accomplish. Initially over-pick, as Prince would say “let’s go crazy.” Here are some examples of priorities you might choose: “Providing for the education of my children.” “Achieving financial independence.” “Maintaining my loving, happy marriage.” Or, “working for world peace.”
  • Go back and assess your list. Eliminate the nice but, on second inspection, not so important items.
  • Next, combine any items that are similar in nature. Having too many priorities leads to frustration and despair, similar to what you’ve got now.
  • Rewrite, redefine, or restructure any of your choices. If you’re not sure of an item, feel free to delete it.
  • Put your list away for another day, then review it again.
  • During your review delete, combine, or rethink any of the items remaining. If something seems less important, drop it — you have everything to gain. You can’t afford the responsibility of more priorities than you can support!
  • Complete your list, for now — priorities can change.
For sure, your priorities may change radically as years pass. They are always based on deeply felt needs or desires, usually representing challenging but ultimately rewarding choices.

Your Priority Card

For maximum benefit, I suggest writing your priorities on small business-size cards. Keep one in your wallet, one in your appointment book, and one in your car.

Read your priority list as often as you can. Reading your priority list frequently contributes to your sensation of breathing space — it’s invigorating when you’re actively supporting what you’ve chosen as important. It isn’t overkill to review a list of your life’s priorities every day; in fact, it is a superior approach to controlling your life.