Thursday, November 14, 2013

Solving the Priority Puzzle

"I've got so much on my plate that I care about. How can I do it all?" "I value this, I value that. How do I choose to say 'yes' to this and 'no' to that and not feel guilty in the process?" In a word, how can I be true to all my values including self-care, family, friends, career, community…?
It's true. We often live in a conflicting/conflicted state, particularly when everything seems essential 'right now'. This sense of urgency grows, as does an unnecessary stress level, every time we look at the clock tick-tocking the precious minutes away.  
Here are 5 how-tos about living from and for all your values with integrity 
in the long and short run.
1. Choose contextually  Rather than take a panoramic view of all your values all the time, narrow your lens to what is most important now. Not forever, just now. This now may require an hour, a day, a week or month. Focus primarily on that priority. You are not relinquishing your other values; you're honoring them, in turn. This brings us to...
2. Convert guilt into commitment You have assessed the myriad responsibilities and desires in front of you. With everything you know, you've prioritized and chosen where and how to devote yourself for now. As essential: assess what is enough (does it always need to be 'perfect' or will 'satisfactory' or 'cursory' suffice), then put in the energy, time and resources needed to each prioritized value as it reaches the front of your cue. 
3. Communicate Share your values and priorities. If gone unstated, others may feel shunned rather than enlightened by your thoughtfulness around what, why and when you're saying 'no' and 'yes' to commitments.
4. Ask for help/reprieve  Who can assist you? What might be renegotiated? As important, what can be put off or let go of all together? 
5. Take continual care of yourself  Like your breath (are you breathing?!), life is an ebb and flow of busyness, overwhelm and calm. Rather than victimized, you can choose how to be regardless of the circumstance. How? Through moment-by-moment practices. Smile when the phone rings. Breathe before answering an email. Schedule and take breaks - walk outside or take a nap for 10 revitalizing, centering minutes (particularly in the afternoon). Laugh!

Design your life's puzzle,


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