For followers of my Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know this week has been a trying one, and it’s only Tuesday! I’d prioritised my plans around family time and business, the same way I do every Sunday, and then everything changed. What I’ve learnt over the last 48hrs is that nothing is impossible to achieve, rearrange, or overcome. The art in this success is knowing how to prioritise.
Dealing with the unexpected
Let me set the scene. 48hrs ago I dropped my Husband at the airport for a work trip. When I left, my plan had been to return home, take Neo for a walk and then cue up my first Journey To You clients welcome email. Instead, I returned home to a puppy who’s face had doubled in size and who was extremely poorly. Beside myself, I balanced calling the emergency vet, getting Neo car safe to travel, all whilst not alerting my Husband before he boarded a flight!
The need to prioritise
Thanks to a wonderful friend and neighbour, I pulled myself together to drive to the vets and say yes to all the tests and treatment they needed to give. It was not the best few hours of my life. Yet, strangely, whilst waiting to hear what was going on, I had begun to re-prioristise all the commitments I had for the coming week. I didn’t know whether Neo would have to stay overnight, have surgery, or more tests. Would I need to go back to the vets again? Did I need to monitor his recovery or look for specific signs?
Eventually, I was able to bring Neo home. We had a very restless night but in that time I wrote out all the commitments I absolutely had to keep, identified what I could prioritise (personal training session, networking event), and felt absolutely no shame at all in explaining the reason why.
How to prioritise
You may be thinking I wasn’t as upset as I claim, having been able to prioritise when my focus was on Neo. My focus never left him and neither did I. I was with him 100% of the time but I also knew that to remain that way I had to prioritise my week accordingly. Doing so also brought me a sense of calm and control in a situation where I had none.
So how did I accomplish this reprioritisation of my week? Did I say no to things or cancel important events? In part, yes, but those which were important or relevant to me. I don’t have any photography sessions until Friday and the rest of my business week was focussed around behind the scenes pieces and personal photography.
The key for me was to review my to-do list and make a ‘must-do’ list, followed by a ‘to-do when possible’ list, and lastly, a ‘to-do’ list. Like everyone I have things I must do on a daily or very regular basis that cannot be missed, or at the very least would need someone else to take over for me. That was list one complete. The second category included things like my accounts, writing this blog ready to be read this morning, and my personal photography. Lastly, came personal training, housework (boo), and catching up on episode 4 of The Bodyguard!
Why you should prioritise regularly
Ok, so my ‘to-do’ list wasn’t really dealing with any ‘big’ problems but its often the little things that cause us the biggest amount of angst. Including the ‘to-do when possible list’ i.e. write and publish this blog.
I’ve always considered myself a very organised and adaptable person, but the last 48hrs really put things into perspective for me. Yes I have my weekly schedule mapped out every Friday evening, or Sunday at the latest. I know whats ahead for me, but are any of these things ever truly prioritised? How can I be making better use of my time to be present with my family and those I work with rather than focussing on what I can get ticked off of a self-created list. Where is my relaxation and replenish time in this schedule and how did that fall off?
From now on, I will still schedule my weeks, but they will have a very different look. The value and effort I give in my work and life won’t be any less, on the contrary I think it will be even more, because I can truly be in the moments. I’ll know what I can move if I want to spend a little longer on a photography session. There won’t be a compromise on family time. And when the unexpected happens, I’ll be able to respond to it safe in the knowledge that I really do have it all under control.
So there was my change to normal service but I hope you too can benefit from what I have learnt. Until next week, keep capturing those journeys and remember to put you first.