Prioritize Your World
Do you need to take a look at your values? Every day is a chance to change. Here are some ways to start…
4 min read
We all have ‘Values’ whether we consciously acknowledge them or not, and ideally, we are using them as waymarkers for the journey to our goals. However; as we busily get on with the job of reaching our dreams and life goals— keeping that sense of purpose and meaning in sight is challenging.
To live authentically; it can be useful to define values clearly, and live and work according to them. But maybe your values are much more obvious than you realize; you are prioritizing with the choices you make every day -
So lets do a little activity: take a quiet moment to write down, without thinking too much about it — you 5 main life values: family? success? health? adventure? religion? charity work? whatever comes to mind. Now take a good look at your diary/schedule for the last month — are our values reflected in your schedule?
- If your value list included Family: How many late nights have you worked in the office? how many school events have you missed?
- If your value list included Health: How often have you made time to exercise in the last month? and how often did you get a takeaway or go out drinking?
- If your value list included Success: How much time have you committed to finding that next career move? or working on your qualifications?
- If your value list included Friends: How much time have you spent seeing Friends? Have you cancelled on any parties?
If you are happy with how your schedule reflects your values, and you have made time for all your Top Five; that’s awesome! well done! but it's very possible that some or all of your values don't feature as strongly in your day to day actions as you would like.
We all define our priorities with each action we take, every single day. But often we may find life pulling us along in directions we don't want to go. Don’t Panic! but it may be time for a pause and reconnect your schedule back up with your values — your real ones. Every day is a chance to change! Here are some ways to start…
1. Design for life
Your diary shouldn’t be something that stresses you out when you look at it. Each new day should bring some sparks of joy and excitement. If it doesn’t, then by all means; change it.
Reshape your schedule by mapping out your ideal week: pick the classes you want to go to, the people you want to see, the hours you want to work. Look back on your values list: what do you want to prioritise? And spend some time thinking about how to make this happen — do you need to speak to your boss about all the overtime you’ve been working? do you want to reconnect with friends or a hobby?
“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again” Eric Roth
2. Be Present
The next time you rush off early from your yoga class to go to a meeting or take a work call during a girl’s night out, ask yourself, “Is this the kind of person I want to be?”
Think about your weekly schedule and what really needs to be on there. Could you streamline meetings to make them shorter? could you incorporate an exercise class with meeting up with your friends? are you spending time on draining projects you could ditch or delegate? The aim here is to commit fully to each activity and enjoy it — rather than worrying about the next appointment!
3. Seek Support
Talk to people; ask friends & family to help you create some boundaries that recognise your values. So if you cancel an evening meet-up, your friend may ask you, “remember you wanted to commit to monthly meet-ups?” These kinds of reminders can give us space to pause and reflect on our intentions. Sometimes our decisions are made half-consciously or unconsciously, and before we know it, they’re established habits. Having the input of a loved one can help you re-assess this cycle.
4. Channel Joy
When you’re in the midst of a busy, stressful day, ask yourself, “Is this really what I want to be doing?” “Is this path bringing me joy?”
Now, every job/vocation will come with stresses and tedious tasks; but are you doing things out of obligation and the promise of a paycheck? then maybe it’s time to consider a change. Each of us only gets so many days on earth, are you spending them on things that don’t actually matter to you?
At first, this may seem difficult: to take a hard look at your life, schedule and values and asking yourself these challenging questions. It may even cause some guilt about about how you’re spending your precious days. But if the values you’re practicing now aren’t the ones you’d like to prioritize, you have the power to change them! In fact, being honest about them is the only way you can change.
Use your days and hours wisely, and enjoy life each day as your authentic self!
Sarah Robinson is a Digital Marketing Director and Events Producer with an MSc in Psychology & Neuroscience. She is also a yoga teacher and is passionate about making mental and physical well-being accessible for all. She particularly enjoys teaching meditation and yoga at tech conferences, helping developers and designers find new ways to unwind and relax. She hopes to help everyone discover ways to feel better through her blog posts with SheCanCode.