Real Talk · Uncategorized

How to prioritize when everything is important.

Let’s talk priorities. Because (obviously) they’re really important. But specifically, I want to talk about an #adulting skill that nobody ever really teaches you but that you’re expected to do: prioritize. Even more specifically, I want to talk about how to prioritize your never-ending to-do list of important things that must get done. How do you know where to start? This is a topic that I have really struggled with in the past and it effected both my personal life and my career until I was able to get it all in check. Not everything is a top priority.

I personally love making lists. They calm my brain and my nerves because there is something about putting everything down on paper just makes the world feel a little less intimidating; writing it all down also somehow makes me feel a little more capable, too. Something about putting words to all the things swimming around in my brain gives me confidence and motivation to accomplish them. You know?

So the question then becomes: how do I distinguish the differing importance between two important things?

But seriously though, I can usually identify what’s important but how do I know what’s most important? How do I put those things in order?

How to prioritize when everything feels important.

So many successful people talk about the importance of prioritizing and how it’s such a necessary skill in being able to get things done. But I’m over here, nodding my head, like yes yes yes. Okay totally. I agree, but the question is: HOW? How do I actually prioritize when literally everything feels (and seems) super important? I clearly can’t do it all at once. Even though I still struggle with this, I’ve learned a lot along the way. So here is exactly what I do when I need to figure out how to prioritize my overwhelming list of things to do, step-by-step.

Take a deep breath.

First things first, let’s chill out a second, okay? It’s all going to be okay. We’ll get through this, I promise. I know that is easier said than done but take that first deep breath, it is a starting point.

I know the feeling of having a list of 3,687 things that NEED to be done like yesterday (and they’re all important) so please, if you haven’t taken that deep breath yet do it NOW. I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list and ideas on the regular but stopping to remind myself that it’ll be OK always helps. Always. Talk to yourself if you need to. But don’t underestimate the power in taking a long, deep, intentional breath; it can do more for you (your brain and body!) than you realize.

I get that not feeling overwhelmed is easier said than done (I should know), but if you don’t take a second to get yourself out of there, you’ll likely end up paralyzed by your to-do list to the point where you won’t get anything done. Know what I mean? So just stop for a second, take a deep breath and remember it’ll all be OK. You’ve got this.

Brain dump: put all your thoughts on paper.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to do a good ‘ole brain dump .You have heard me talk about this time and time again. Because I’m addicted and do them all the time.

If you don’t know what a brain dump is, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like – it’s taking pen to paper and getting all of your thoughts OUT of your brain. It’s a release and it’s also you facing facts. It’s taking everything you’re worrying about, questioning, feeling and needing to do, and putting it somewhere that you can actually look at them.

Get your journal (it’s better to write than type), cozy up on the couch and get ALL THE THINGS out of your brain and onto the page. In the next step I’ll tell you what to do with it but for now, just write write write. Don’t censor yourself or write down what you wish you were thinking. Just be honest with yourself, write down anything that pops up and don’t judge yourself for any of it.

If you’ve never tried one before, I promise you’ll be hooked after the first one (there’s something so therapeutic about getting everything out of your head). I break down how to do a brain dump in detail in this post .

Categorize the brain dump.

Once you’ve got everything out of your brain and onto paper, the next step is to categorize your tasks. This will help you figure out what needs to be done immediately, what needs to be scheduled, what can be delegated and what can be flat out deleted.

What you want to do is look over all the things you’ve written down and either use a different colored highlighter for each category or rewrite your list into the four groups so you can see things clearly. And deleting as much as you possibly can is ALWAYS a good productivity tip, so don’t be afraid to cross off things that won’t help move you closer to your goals (and sometimes you just have to be ruthless).

Prioritize the important.

This is the hardest part – figuring out what to do when you’ve got A LOT in the “not urgent but still important” category. As I was saying before, knowing how to distinguish different levels of importance can be challenging and no one’s really telling us how to prioritize it. What I share below is my process for figuring out what’s most important.

Th area that I tend to spend the most time in are the tasks that are not urgent but important. They’re the ones that help you achieve your most important goals and have to do with relationships, planning, and self-improvement. Basically, they’re all the things you want to be doing in your life but haven’t got around to yet (because they’ve never been urgent!).

Here are some examples of activities that fall into that section, dependent on your lifestyle:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Going for a morning walk
  • Working on your side hustle
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Spending time alone/reflecting
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Reading
  • Planning
  • Getting your life organized

Assess value.

So the question remains – how to figure out which of these things to do first? Again, take a deep breath and then have a look over your list and start assessing the value of each task. Let’s be real – everything on your list isn’t going to get you the same result. There are some things on that list that will make a huuuge difference in your life and some that will only change it a little bit. For example, making sure you get enough sleep each night is going to have a much bigger impact on your life than listening to a podcast (even though I love podcasts ) because if you’re not looking after your health then everything else suffers.

Looking at the value of each task is super important (because what’s the point of doing stuff if it doesn’t get you to your goals??) so what I suggest is go through your list and give each item a 1 if it’s just a nice-to-have all the way up to a 10 if it would be completely life-changing (if you can’t tell yet, we’re basically just refining that first list you wrote again and again and again until it’s not overwhelming). And if you think everything on your list would be life-changing, remind yourself that it’s better to focus on a couple of things rather than attempting all of them at once. Try not to give two or more things the same rating if you can avoid it.

When you’re figuring out how to prioritize the important stuff, it’s also good to consider how long things will take, whether you have other people depending on you, deadlines etc. I recommend going back over your list again (ha!) and make sure that the items you scored as a 10 are the ones that are the most impactful AND make the most sense when you consider the time and effort involved as well as other people (but having said that… it’s important you’re not just living your life to please others).

Put tasks in order.

I don’t recommend working from your messy, color-coded brain dump; that’s NOT going to help with the overwhelming feelings. In order to prioritize the list, we’ve got to sort through it a bit, reorder some things, assign different weights to others, and so on. The key to figuring out how to prioritize your forever-long brain dump is to write a new, fresh list. Stay with me, friends.

Once you’ve got everything in order, write a new list of the things you’re going to do based on the ratings you gave each. Be sure to keep your list short and make sure each of the tasks you want to do is specific (this helps with planning).

If there are any unimportant tasks that landed onto your lists, cross them off ASAP. We can tend to those later. Challenge yourself to focus on just the important items.

Run over your list and make sure you feel good and confident (about the importance of) everything that’s on there. Easier said than done, but it’s best to do this before you’ve started any of the work, not after. Go through each item and be honest with the reason why it is on the list and ask yourself what makes it important and why. Make sure that none of the tasks you’re doing are coming from a place of fear or a desire to people-please.

Strive for progress over perfection.

To-do lists are a place where perfectionism can flare up (in a BIG way) and you might feel like you need to have everything perfectly prioritized before you can get started. Or that you need to do everything for it to be worth it.

But I know for sure that it’s better to be doing something imperfectly than to not being doing it at all. Strive for progress, not perfection. And remember that none of us have our lives perfectly organized – I wish!

Related: How to overcome the pressure to be perfect.

What about you?

How do you figure out what’s most important?

Let’s chat.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Beauty · Fashion · Uncategorized

Holiday Gift Guide – For Him Edit.

Happy holidays!

First off, I want to apologize for the minor hiatus that was happening over here in my little corner of the internet. I have been trying to spend a bit more time on Instagram lately as a quicker and easier way of connecting with you and as a result I haven’t found a moment to sit down and pound away at the keyboard. But, here I am! Back at it and pretty excited!

When it comes to the holidays and shopping, I always struggle with my boyfriend the most. It also doesn’t help that his birthday is in December also so I get hit with a double whammy of pressure to find the perfect gifts that he will love.

If you are anything like me, gift shopping for your man can really be a struggle. They never want anything and anything that they may need, they’ve already run out and bought it themselves! I am big into “experience” gifts though like tickets to an event or a fun excursion on our vacations and I will use those as a fall back idea from time to time.

gift-wrapping.jpg

This year I thought maybe we could help each other out and put our heads together here and come up with a bomb list of ideas!! Let me know what you think in the comment section and what your gift plans are this holiday season. Also, what are you asking Santa for this year?

Backpack – Swap out that nasty old excuse of a backpack your man has likely had from either high school or university and get him a brand new one. My boyfriend loves his new backpack for the comfort and storage size and I love it because I am a sucker for the color. I was envious of his cool new backpack this summer and bought myself this one which is fairly similar and I love it even more.

Headphones, I am still a fan of the wired ones and to compensate with the lack of jacks in the new iPhones, I just use the adapter. However, Apple AirPods are super popular and make for a really great gift. I find them expensive but seems like they are here to stay and at least Apple has free shipping. Personally, I am a fan of these plugged in ones more than the wireless.

I am obsessing over these little gems of a find!! My boyfriend and I each have our own mugs we prefer and all hell breaks loose when I catch him sipping his Cup o’ Joe out of my Pug Life mug!! Is it so hard to just not do that? Does this happen at your house or am I just way to anal? I am adding these his and her mugs to my check out for sure this year! Plus, they are totally picture perfect material!

BBQ tools… every man wants them and lucky for us gift givers, they need them! I have taken the cheap route out before when it comes to BBQ tools and I’ll tell you this – you get what you pay for. For a great quality but still basic set I would recommend this set. And, a burger press makes a great stocking stuffer to go along with the theme as well as skewers and sauces. If he already has all his grill accessories, maybe signing him up for Grill Master Club is a better idea. Subscription boxes aren’t just for us women!

Are there men out there that moisturize their face and body anymore or have these ideas gone the way of unicorns? My boyfriend just hates creams and claims they all cause him to breakout. This obviously isn’t true because I know he dips into mine occasionally and thinks I can’t smell it on his face. I pick and choose my battles. That being said, I have heard really great things about the Clinique Maximum Hydrator which is specifically made for men. I may just leave this on the counter and see how long it take him to try it and tell me he was wrong.

Male or female, old or young, the most important thing you can have in the winter (especially here in Canada) is dry and warm feet! Winter boots are always a welcomed gift idea and these are both stylist and practical so it is a win win for everyone! If you are looking for a pair for yourself, I suggest these ones that I just got for my birthday and can’t wait to wear out in the snow!

That is about it for now, I am sure as we get closer and closer I will add to my list and if you keep an eye on my Instagram (@LiveLaughLearn.blog), I’ll notify you when I do add things. What do you have going on your list so far? I would love to hear and get some inspiration on things I may be missing! Also, have you put up your tree yet? We are doing ours this weekend and I’m having a few little elves help me with it, be sure to follow my IG stories on Saturday!!

Until next time, happy shopping!

XOXO.

B