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Misplaced Your Priorities?
By Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach

Would you hire somebody to baby-sit while you cleaned out the closet? Of course not. You'd hire someone to clean out the closet, while you spent the extra time with your kids.

Examine your priorities and see where you have hired out a "baby sitter", instead of hiring out a "closet cleaner". Where in your life have you misplaced your priorities?

The message here is to think about how you put your time, your energy, and your resources into one thing that agreeably needs to be done (like the closet) - but at the expense of something that was more important to you (like the kids).

Or maybe you've spent your money on something that you *needed* (like a vacation), but at the expense of something that was more important to you (like a secure retirement).

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is my lifestyle set up to *contribute* to what I want -- or contaminate it?

  2. Do I make my choices consciously? Or do I just "let things happen".

  3. What's first in my life?

Use the closet/kids metaphor for any priority - or anything that's important to you in your life. What comes FIRST in your life? Do you put your job before your relationships? Do you put your taste buds before your health? Do you put watching "Friends" reruns on TV before exercising? Do you put the latest electronic gadget before a secure retirement?

Here's the key -- Never trade what you want at the moment for what you want the most.

If you just react to the next thing that gets your attention, you'll never have enough time for what is really important. Consciously SCHEDULE your priorities every single day around your 24 hours. Decide how you're going to spend the next day. If you let the next thing that gets your attention dictate your schedule, you'll end up accomplishing nothing.

If you find that you often say, "I want to -- but I just don't have the time", begin to think of it this way: It just doesn't have a high enough priority in my life. I have time to read the paper, or I have time to watch TV, or I have time to surf the net, I have time to go out.

You'll not only create a wonderful TODAY, you'll also take an active role in determining your future by deciding "What's Important Now".

A Word of Caution: Don't mistake ACTIVITY for accomplishment.

A big part of honoring your priorities is the willingness to say NO to things that don't fit into what you want in your life. It's a discipline, a dedication to things that are important to you, and a discipline, a dedication to weed out or filter out things that don't fit.

Sarah Hughes, Gold Medallist for Figure Skating, had to spend many many hours on the ice learning routines, choreography, and athletic jumps. In addition to that, she followed a diet program, did weight training, took dance classes, went to fittings, and photo shoots. If Sarah Hughes had procrastinated on any of those things, or if she had chosen to spend her time as most 16 year olds do, she would not have been a Gold Medallist.

She had the DESIRE + DECISIONS + DEDICATION to eliminate the things that distracted her from her goals.

Commit yourself to making conscious choices, and you'll find that you can:
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Prevent Problems

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Clean Up Past Mistakes

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Get Organized

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Schedule around your priorities

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Simplify (and this automatically gives you more time to do what you want).

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Decide on your priority for that day, and then say NO to everything else

What you choose to day is important, because you are exchanging a day in your life for whatever it is. Your choices are important!! At the end of the day, conscious choice will let you say "I'm glad I did..", instead of "I wish I would have...". You'll be glad you did.

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Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach, is the author of several E-books and Coaching Programs designed to help people solve Real Life Challenges, and live Happier, Healthier, Easier, Lives. This is an excerpt from "10 Things Between You and a Great Life" Ebook. www.reallifecoach.com

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