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“There are 7 days in a week and “Someday” isn’t one of them” – Author Unknown.
While I couldn’t find the original author for this quote, I love it! Also, it happens to align directly with what’s going on in my life lately.
What is A Priority?
Do you ever feel that you have too many “priorities”? Which priority is really the most important, and how can you focus on it so “someday” isn’t on your timeline?
I understand you!
In fact, as much as I love that my little blog has taken off in its first 5 months (there are 934 of you as of this minute, and I had 18000 monthly pageviews last month!), I have to be sure my PhD doesn’t fall off the list.
So, I want to talk about a theory I found on the web that might help you define your priorities. First, though, I’ll take you through how I, personally, define my main priority, keeping in mind that priorities can shift month to month and year to year, as you strive to meet your goals. (In case you didn’t catch my post on How to Set Goals That Work, it’s here).
4 Steps to Defining Your Priority
1. What do you want most from life?
For me, that’s making The Teaching Cove a full-time business through e-books and courses, while still providing awesome free resources for teachers, like I do in my printables library.
Keeping this as a priority until my launch is why I’ve been MIA to all my friends the last week. In fact, I finished up my first e-book this past weekend, 25 TED Talk Lesson Plans for Your English Class, which you can find here!
2. What’s one more goal you really want to achieve and really want to focus on right now?
For me, that’s achieving my fitness goal. While I won’t go into details on my struggle here, so this post doesn’t turn into a novel, let’s say that takes a lot of time and energy.
(Hint: it’s not lack of discipline or determination that’s stopping me).
3. What can you let go of?
So, there will be items you have to remove from your list, even if they are on your medium term goal list (you have my goal setting template, right?) For example, I’ve had to let go of my lovely French lessons. Last year, I was working really hard to get my French back, and devoted 7 hours per week to this (2 hours in a private class, 2 hours of homework, 2 hours of watching a film, and 4 hours a month at a French Meetup group). Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep it all up and run the blog, teach English, do a PhD, follow a strict a meal and fitness plan, start skiing again, and care for my dog.
Well, my goal of being a DALF (Advanced French) exam certificate holder will have to wait! What are you letting go of?
4. What do you still need to hang on to?
For me, that’s the PhD. Don’t get me wrong, I love my topic (individual students’ differences in second language acquisition in a study abroad context), but I find data analysis to be a huge struggle. A four year solo project, too, isn’t my idea of a whole lot of fun – I’m more about collaborating. Due to time restrictions, I have to alternate my blog with my PhD priority. So, if I’m a little MIA this week, that’s why 😉
The Four Burner Priority Theory
So, I’m not sure who the original author of this theory is, but I first heard about it from James Clear. It’s a really simple way to visualize priorities.
Imagine a stove top with four burners.
To be successful, you need to only use 3 burners at a time. Actually, to be very successful, you only use 2, so you can really focus and do well. Don’t cheat and try to combine burners; it won’t work. James Clear explains why in his post here.
The “4 Burners” are:
So, I’m sure you can tell that mine are Health and Work at the moment! Perhaps I have 2 Burners of work, if you include the PhD!
Another Resource on Avoiding Burnout
Part of avoiding burn-out is establishing work-life balance. Over at the Groom & Style blog, there is an awesome work-life balance guide you may want to check out. They have great tips on stress in the “millenial lifestyle craze”, as they call it.
Well, I hope my brief post on setting your top priority is helpful. What are your “burners”? What are your goals? Comment below and let me know – I love hearing from The Teaching Cove’s readers!
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photo fans, the main image in today’s post (and poster!) is one I took during a summer road trip in 2016 in the beautiful town of Santa Margherita di Ligure, Italy.
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