Don't Prioritize Your Schedule, Schedule Your Priorities
What is the difference between prioritizing your schedule, and scheduling your priorities? I’m not going to tip-toe around it. Prioritizing your schedule means you don’t have complete power. People can very quickly fill up your schedule if you’d let them, and you’d have no say in what you do and what you don’t. While it is important to prioritize your schedule and be able to satisfy the tasks in front of you, what is the nature of those things? If important things come up, you may not have the same flexibility to adjust to new demands. In fact prioritizing your schedule is more of a responsive approach to the way you spend your time because you are letting external factors be a leading decision maker in what you ultimately do.
But when you schedule your priorities, you are in control. You decide up front what is important to you and you make sure you allocate time to do it. It’s a very proactive approach in that you design your life in advance with the intention of doing what you want to do and when you want to do it. Whether it’s time with your kids, a significant other, at the gym, self-care, or in a hobby, the fact that it’s important to you means that it deserves your time, and you can satisfy that when you schedule your priorities.
So pull out a schedule, make your best guess at what your pillar time commitments are - work hours, extracurriculars, meetings, whatever - then fill in the gaps with the things that are truly important to you. For me, Thursday night is date night, and unless extremely urgent I don’t schedule calls or work for that evening because that’s something that is important to me. It really is that easy, and there’s no excuse not to try it.
Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.