A Priority Observation
“Write down your top ten priorities,” he suggested. His
request, seemingly simple, made her pause. She glared
at her notebook and tapped her pencil on the table. She
appeared concerned with “getting it right.” He asked,
“What are ten things that you give most of your time
to, in order of their importance to you?”
She began to scribble nervously, pausing between words.
Her expression of concern grew to one of confusion
until she finally confessed, “I don’t know where I
should place this one.”
He replied, “I can’t tell you where to place it.
However, your highest priority, at this time, isn’t
necessarily one that you think ‘should’ rank higher
than the rest. It’s what you would actually ‘do’ first,
if you had the choice between several actions.” Then,
he simplified the exercise.
He suggested she write two lists. The first, to be
written immediately, would be called an “Ideal Priority
List.” It would contain priorities arranged as she
believed they ‘should’ be, reasonably ordered, based on
her beliefs and ideals.
The second list would be called an “Actual Priority
List,” to be completed during the following week. It
would show how much time she actually dedicated to her
ideal priorities, whether there were priorities not
listed previously, and how her priorities actually
ranked according to her actions.
After a week of observation, her number one priority on
her “Ideal Priority List” came in fifth on her “Actual
Priority List.” Her number one priority on her “Actual
Priority List,”(an activity of great fulfillment and
joy for her) had been ranked sixth on her “Ideal
Obviously, there was quite a difference between the two
lists. She learned the value of observing her actions,
accurate indications of what was the most important to
her at the time….
(C) 2008 by Steve Brunkhorst.