Prioritizing Life

by Megan on January 25, 2011

So we all understand the importance of prioritization at work. You want to make sure you’re spending your effort and money wisely, that you’re efficient, that you’re not wasting any time. So my question is, how do we apply this to life in general? How do you stack up having drinks with a friend against finishing up a project at work? Exercising vs sleep?

In my experience generally the fires win. We put more time into the last-minute crazy battles, tear-fests, and trips instead of in the everyday stuff we need to keep us sane. Like exercise, sleep and a moment to ourselves. Sometimes “wasting” time on the weekend may be just what you need, but we’ve become so ingrained from work that it becomes harder to do. Or, maybe it’s just me.

How do you choose?

  • themaria

    Hey Megan,nnnGreat post! I struggle with this. I am struggling with it right now as we speak. My first knee-jerk response was to say something banal like “Think about what matters in the long term, what will you regret not doing?” , but then I realized that although a goal, this is fairly divorced from reality.nnSo.. Fires win. For me and for all of us. Which sucks, because if we took more time for priorities (important and non-urgent), it may actually prevent some fires (non-important and urgent). There’s a book from which I’m getting these quadrants (important / urgent, important / non-urgent, non-important / urgent and non-important / non-urgent) but I can’t think of it for the life of me. Hopefully someone can suggest. I **try** to think of this in these terms, but I fail spectacularly and often.nnI don’t have a solution. I do have another question. Do you feel social media and the public facing nature of our jobs make everything more urgent? Are we setting up really unrealistic expectations of ourselves (always on, no personal time), and then **teaching** this to others (directly, by saying “Here’s my blog on how businesses have to be on twitter 24/7″ and indirectly, by replying so quickly to tweets, emails, etc). At some point, there has to be a personal backlash. Big co’s that can take advantage of timezones overseas aren’t included, they have no excuse.nnJust rambling…

  • Megan Berry

    Yes! I think you’re completely right. The very nature of social media makes us much more fires oriented — which we already are naturally as humans — so we’re basically screwed. Ha. oh well. nnIn all seriousness, I think it’s something we should *try* to temper in the social media world. I’ve certainly fallen victim to it myself. Responding quickly has become this holy grail. People complement @klout when we can respond quickly to a complaint, but is that really a sustainable or even a worthwhile goal to have?nn I’ve seen these email aut0-replies where people say they will get back to you within 24 hours. Since when did a 24 hour reply time-frame become something to apologize about? Yet, I know I’ve been guilty of sending emails that require a response in the next few hours, or even immediately. nnIt’s a tough challenge. Maybe we need to start a movement. The Slow Social Media Movement? A la slow food et al? ;)

  • Kristopher Wong

    Megan,nnI am probably the worst example because I in trench myself in my work, startup, adventures, and social activities very easily. I suffer (or succeed depends on how you look at it) from ADD and thus always need something new and challenging. This affinity to the “new” and wondrous has gotten me into trouble before because people think that I am not being productive (especially at work) towards my “required” duties. The fact of the matter is I usually (95% of the time) get the tasks done on time, albeit in a different order than most people.nnAnyways, this does not answer your question at all; however gives you a glimpse into what I go through on a daily basis.nnBasically, my mind works like this. Make a tasklist of things you need to complete on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis for work, social, startup, health, and networking. Map it out on my Outlook (yes outlook saves me) but always leave gaps in your time to have “play” time. During this “play” time I do whatever I fancy and that usually means watching a soccer match or spending time on dates.nnTrust me it is not only you that deals with this. I do on a continual basis but have found that if I schedule “play” time that I am super productive and never get bored. :) n

  • Kristopher Wong

    Slow Carb diet for social media junkies. I am sure you could sell that idea. :)

  • Warren Whitlock

    I always make “wasting time” a priority

  • Joey Shurtleff

    Fires > Fun, Friends, and Family > General Work, IMO. Definition of fire is subjective, but it’s important to not use this label liberally (no more than 1-2x a month?).

  • James Cooper Ware

    I’m in the midst of prioritizing life outside of work just this week. I know. Most people do it the day after New Years, but I like to wait till all of the gotta do it now people get out of my way. Fires and work for me have always gone hand in hand…it’s the nature of advertising. My job as an Art Director has evolved from a four person team to me and now we throw in social and I’m a whole freaking art/social department wrapped into one. nnSo with that said…after work and the weekends is my time. That’s when I get sleep, exercise and some form of meditation time. However, I don’t completely step away from the computer, but I surely don’t sit there and answer, just ask me questions, just an example, right away…I let that fire burn. That’s how I choose.

  • jakrose

    So we just need an editorial calendar for life ; )