Sunday, May 17, 2015

Three key questions about priorities that apply to everyone

Priorities are an interesting thing. We know we have them, we know they are important but we often don't think about them much - ironically because we are often too distracted by non-priorities. The best sacrificed by the urgent. 

There are three key questions about priorities that we ought to consider on a regular basis. The first is do we know what our priorities are? Can we name them? Have we spent time determining what they should be? The reason this is so important is that either we determine what they are or others and life will do it for us. This is true in our personal lives and in our professional lives. Many people live with only a general idea of what their priorities are which is by definition a life unconsidered.

The second question is whether our stated priorities are the right ones. On the personal side, we know that our priorities revolve around God, our marriage (if married), family and our personal ministry. While these can easily become pushed aside they are not hard to determine.

On the professional side, however, it is not necessarily so easy. We need to start by asking what we want to accomplish and then our priorities follow from our goals. But that is not even the final issue because how we go about the pursuit of our goals can be the difference between moderate impact and significant impact. It takes focused, evaluative thinking to determine what really should be the focus of my time on the ministry or professional side. The end results of our ministries will largely be determined by whether we focused on the right things.

The third question regarding priorities is whether my stated priorities are reflected in my calendar. That is, whether I have connected the compass (my priorities) with the clock (my calendar). If our checkbook reflects our financial priorities, our calendar reflects our time priorities. Anyone who examines our calendars can tell what our actual priorities are and whether they reflect our stated priorities. 

Connecting the compass with the clock is easier said than done because of all the demands and expectations that come our way. But, it is the priorities themselves that help us say yes or no so that we stay on track with our calling and our lives. 

If you are challenged by answering these three questions, you are in good company. But the more we ask them and pay attention to them the more we will focus on the things that really matter.

Posted from Milwaukee

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