I will guarantee you’ve never heard me say I’m bored – and you never will. I always have too much going on and more interests than time to pursue them. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’re in a similar situation. We all have a lot of stuff going on and and things only seem to be getting busier. I’ve decided to make a list of my priorities to help me focus on how I really want to spend my time.
It’s tough to figure out what to work on when you have a never-ending list, but knowing your priorities helps. I’ve thought about it a lot and come up with a list of my top five priorities.
So how’d I set my priorities? It was really quite simple when it came down to it.
God. I’m a Christian. A simple, but profound statement. One that really defines me. Very few people have seen me upset. It’s not that I hide it, but it’s my mindset. I think trying to mimic God’s ways is why the phrase “Live aloha” seems to fit so well.
Family. If you know me, you know my life revolves around my family. I’m married with a wife and two kids, a 10-year old boy and a 4-year old girl. They are the reason behind everything I do in one way or another. We love outdoor activities and spend as much time outside as we can. In addition to the outdoor stuff, my son is also in Cub Scouts and starts band tomorrow. They are starting a new Cub Scout pack this year in our town and are looking for den leaders. While I don’t necessarily want to be the primary den leader with my Navy Reserve schedule, it’s not out of the question. And I certainly wouldn’t mind assisting if someone else steps up for our age group. Things aren’t slowing down here any time soon.
Navy Reserve. I started typing this post as I sat in an airport waiting to board a plane for a couple days of Navy Reserve training in Groton, Connecticut. I’m our unit’s leading petty officer (LPO), which means I’m responsible for the enlisted sailors. It’s the Navy’s equivalent of a supervisor. I need to make sure personnel have everything they need to succeed, while also being responsible to make sure they are getting their work done. And that’s on top of my own duties. Not only am I letting people down if I don’t get something done, I can also get in trouble for it. For this reason, Navy Reserve is slightly ahead of the Fire Department.
Fire Department. Just because this is a volunteer position doesn’t mean I don’t take it as seriously as any other thing I do. We have weekly meetings that often include a variety of training topics. If we get a call and I’m working on Navy stuff, I drop what I’m doing and go. However, if I’ve got a ton of Navy stuff to do, I may have to miss our meeting. I don’t like to do that, but it all depends on when things are due.
WordPress/Development. As much as I love using and helping people with WordPress, everything I do in WordPress is for fun. Because of this, it comes in last out of my top priorities. I’ve been spending 10-15+ hours the last couple weeks on Navy work, so unfortunately this is where I was forced to cut back.
You’ll notice a recurring theme with what I’m trying to do: bulk and automate. I think it saves time to do the same thing for
Weekly Meal Planning/Prep. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now and have heard plenty of times how it can save time. As much as I love cooking, there just isn’t always a lot of time for it. Or if we cook a “real” meal every weeknight, that takes a lot of time away from other things we could be doing.
Lists, Lists, and More Lists. I’m a huge fan of lists. This is something I got started with when I was in the Navy. You were expected to always have a pen and your wheel book (a small notebook) to write down your tasking or anything to follow up with. I regularly carry around a wheel book with me to this day. I’m starting to make lists for everything I can. Once something is on paper, it’s one less thing to worry about. I always have some new idea running through my head, so I don’t want to forget the important stuff.
As a prime example of a list: I’ve been in the Navy Reserve for almost six years now and I would always worry about forgetting something on my drill weekends. Until I made a list. Now I can pack for a drill weekend without even thinking about it. If everything is checked off my list, I’m all set.
Sunday basket. I listen to a lot of podcasts, including a number of them related to organization and productivity. I came across one called Organize 365 by Lisa Woodruff. Even though it’s geared towards women (her words, not mine), I find it very useful. I’ve actually gone back to the beginning and started listening to all [the applicable] episodes. She describes something called the Sunday Basket that allows you to organize all your action items in once place and postpone those things that don’t need to get done right away.
New Daily schedule. There will simply never be enough time for me to do everything I want to. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is and there’s nothing I can do about it. What I can do is determine the most important things for me and focus there. I made a new Google calendar that I’ve been playing around with for a couple weeks trying to figure out a new schedule. It’s really tough to narrow down. I’m a very visual person and I really like seeing everything laid out on the calendar with the physical limitations. Today is October 1 – the first day of a new quarter and the first day of my new schedule. I’m stoked to see how everything works out!
I like what I have right now, but I’m going to be continually reevaluating what’s working and what’s not.