What we prioritise is our choice

I spent years of my life being angry and resentful at not having any time off/being able to do any of the things I wanted to do/having to work all the time. All that time I hadn’t realised something that now seems so obvious: what we prioritise is our choice.

Due to this realisation I can now acknowledge that if I am working a lot it is because I have chosen to do so. This is fine, because having seasons of hustle where we work super hard can be necessary and useful. But, if I’m feeling resentful about what I’m doing I need to stop and re-assess what my priorities really are. 

What we prioritise is our choice.

Prioritisation & scheduling

I’ve been doing better this past year with the angry and resentful stuff. My Happiness Project has been helping me consider my priorities, and making time for them in my life. As well as making rest a priority. I’ve been setting more boundaries, saying no to proposed meetings that fall outside the working hours I’ve set for myself and generally stopping working at the time I’ve decided I’ll stop to allow myself downtime.

It wasn’t until recently, though, that I actually had the realisation about how we prioritise. I’ve started working with creative coach Jen Carrington, and one of the tasks she set me in our last session was to completely schedule my days. I schedule it all, down to the last tea break and getting ready for bed. Working on my schedule last week is when it hit me – it is my choice what I put in this plan.

Prioritising & work

I’ve often felt like external obligations are controlling my life. It’s hard to not feel this way when you’re working in a job you dislike, but even when doing my own work I’ve felt the demands of the work have been driving my life. This isn’t what I want – for any of us. I think we all deserve to feel that our joy, pleasure, happiness, and comfort matter and are leading factors in how we make decisions.

Of course, there are obligations to fulfil, work to do, and chores you’d rather were done by a house elf or magic fairy. But realising that I can choose when I do the things I need to do, and schedule them in a way that feels balanced and comfortable for me has been pretty revelatory. I now understand that I can acknowledge the urgency of a particular, but that doesn’t mean I have to do it right now. Nor does it mean I have to spend my whole evening on it, when I’ve already been working all day.

We all deserve to feel that our joy, pleasure, happiness and comfort matter and are leading factors in how we make decisions.

Connecting to our priorities

When I  see my schedule as blocks of time waiting to be filled with whatever I choose, and need, to prioritise I feel more in control of my life. I know unexpected things may happen and knock the whole schedule out of whack, but when they do I can re-assess and re-prioritise rather than send out an emergency response unit.

If you feel angry and resentful about how your time is filled, like I did, maybe give scheduling a go. It’s so great for realising where your time is going, and what your real priorities are. Plus, it really helps me with making time for my personal priorities around those of work.

Have you struggled with this before? How do you make prioritising work for you?

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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