One of my favorite tools for staying focused on my goals and accomplishing more in my life is something I call “Ruthless Priorities.” This is a great tool for those of us who have a lot of things to do that all seem important. It’s easy to get caught up in the pull of all the things we care about, but it is not productive. Having your attention in 20 different places means you’re not going to give any one thing enough attention to actually get anywhere with it. Follow these steps to put the concept of Ruthless Priorities to work for you:
- Pick the one thing on your plate that is the most important. This is your #1 goal.
- Make a list of things you need to do to accomplish that goal.
- Do those things.
- Don’t do anything else unless you absolutely have to.
- Keep going until you’ve accomplished your goal.
What? Really? It’s that simple? Why yes, yes it is. You may be thinking you already do this. Trust me, you probably don’t. You are probably checking Facebook and shopping online and accepting too many social invitations and staying up too late and doing all sorts of other things that are not moving you closer to your goal. Life is busy and if you really want to get important things done you need to be ruthless with your time. You are going to need to say no to things you don’t want to say no to. You are going to have to sacrifice things you don’t want to. Don’t worry, it’s not forever, but if you have a big important goal that you really want to accomplish you need to remove the impediments that are keeping you from accomplishing that goal.
Here’s how I used the concept of Ruthless Priorities to launch this website. I had planned to launch my website in May 2013. Well, May came and went and I was busy with life. I’m a mom and a wife and was planning a cross-country move and just trying to keep it together, you know? But I’m also a businesswoman with an important mission and every day that my website was not live was another day that I was not reaching people who could use my help. When June rolled around I finally got serious and realized that fitting my work into the tiny nooks and crannies of my days and nights and trying to do all the other things that are important to me, too, was not working. I took a look at all the ways I was spending my time. Getting my website live was the most important thing I needed to do. I set some ruthless priorities and decided that I was going to cut out everything I could that was not related to launching my website. I still took care of my kids and made meals and did laundry but I did not clean the house. I didn’t run errands. I didn’t work out. I didn’t have movie nights with my husband or see my friends. I simply said no to everything I possibly could. If it didn’t contribute to my goal of launching my website and I didn’t absolutely have to do it, I didn’t do it. My website went live within two weeks of me establishing my Ruthless Priorities. And then I smacked myself on the forehead and said, “Why did I wait so long to get serious about this?! It only took two weeks!”
Even the most motivated and focused people put things off and get distracted sometimes, it’s part of life. But if you have a goal that’s been lingering around that really is important to you, get on it! Set up your ruthless priorities, say no to whatever you can, and get to work. You may be surprised by how quickly things come together once you are truly focused!