Thoughts on understanding priorities

  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We never seem to have enough time to do everything we want to do.

In order to get the important things done we must learn to prioritize the things we have to do.

I have spoken to many busy people and from the information they have shared their biggest challenge is not identifying what is most important but being able to stick with it. There are some people whose priority in a sense can never be exactly established because they can receive a call and everything that they were doing at the time of the call gets secondary treatment. I am talking about Pastors whose schedules get overthrown by a call about a sick member, somebody's death, an emergency at someone's home and any number of things that demand “right now” response. For most of us what we need to learn is how to handle priorities. One of the first things we need to remember when it comes to priorities is that they must be evaluated on a daily basis. We might begin to make up our schedules way in advance but on the day of execution or preferably a day or two before we should take a second look and see whether or not the things we have scheduled for that day needs that day treatment and if so in what order.

It's alright to evaluate your schedule and re-prioritize on a regular basis because priorities change regularly and sometimes swiftly. The item on today's schedule that was a priority up to two days ago may no longer be a priority today. Changes in priorities is a part of the game of doing what is most important. This extreme story I read some time ago makes the point. A man went to the Super Bowl and climbed to the top in the end zone section to find a seat. That of course, was not the best vantage point for the game.

So while looking around during the game he spotted an empty seat on the fifty-yard line. He carefully worked his way down to the empty seat.

“Excuse me sir, but is this seat taken?” he asked the elderly gentleman sitting next to the seat.

“No” replied the man. “The seat actually belongs to me. I bought both seats. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she died. We have always been together at the Super Bowl ever since we got married.”

“I am so sorry,” said the man to the elderly gentleman. “But, couldn't you have found a good friend or relative to attend with you?” he queried.

“No, no one was available. I asked.”

“No close friend or family member available for a Super Bowl ticket?” asked the man incredulously.

“No one,” said the elderly man. “They are all at the funeral.” Priorities are not set in concrete ... you have to revisit them daily and sometimes even during the day given the competing demands on your time.

The Rev. Dr. Valentine Williams is a pastor and motivational speaker. He also conducts seminars and workshops related to Christian growth and development; as well as professional and personal development training. You can contact him at valmyval@yahoo.com.

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