How to Set Priorities: “Is He Sponge-Worthy?”

Life Coach Tip: Focus on Priorities, Not on Time Management

Do you know why you’re still having challenges with time management? (And who isn’t?) Because clarity and productivity are not a product of time management. Clarity and productivity follow from established priorities.

The other day the artistic director of an arts group whom I greatly admire asked me to join her board of directors. I declined, with regrets, explaining that “right now, building my practice is my number one priority, and I’m not taking on any new commitments.” Down the road, my priorities will shift, but for now, I’m keeping my eyes narrowed and focused.

Having this kind of clarity about priorities is empowering. More importantly, it makes decisions about how to use your time very easy. If you haven’t defined a set of criteria for saying, “Yes,” then you’ll never claim your time, no matter how fancy your device or app. You’ll just be squeezing in more stuff. It may be good stuff, even noble stuff, but it won’t be YOUR stuff.

Do you remember Elaine’s policy on “Seinfeld” when she discovered that the sponge, her contraceptive of choice, had been discontinued? She now faced a finite supply, and every potential intimate encounter became an issue of priorities. She had a powerful single criterion for giving a guy a thumb’s up or a thumb’s down: “Is he sponge-worthy?”

What you need to connect with at a very deep level is the fact that your time is in as short supply as Elaine’s sponges. Are you willing to squander it on any Tom, Dick, or Harry?

Tell me, what’s your version of Elaine’s question?

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