Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's Easy As 1 - 2 - 3

Some business leaders suggest that you should only have three priorities at any given time.  WTH?  How is that even possible.  I've read it more than once in books and I have seen it on the Internet.  It must be true if it's on the Internet, right?  They say if you have more than three priorities, you don't really have any priorities.  You have a "to do" list.

The principle surrounding the three priority theory is that it will make you focus with laser precision on what is really important in your life.  It will also act as a guild line for whether you can say "yes" or "no" to opportunities that arise.  I have to admit, it is quite effective.

One of my priorities for the second half of this year is to develop my own art "style".  O.M.G. I sometimes think it would have taken less time to learn how to become a brain surgeon.  What do you need to develop your own art style?  Time.  Lots and lots and lots of time. Malcolm Gladwell puts a figure to the number of hours it takes to "master" a skill set in his book, Outliers. The magic number of hours is 10,000.  Wow!  Thanks, Malcolm for figuring that out. This is where having a laser focus comes into play.

If you strive to become an outlier or if you would like more time - and who doesn't need more time - your priority system is a must.  Let's put it to the test.  Can you organize the community garage sale?  Will that take any time away from my priority?  Probably several week's worth, right?  The answer is "no".  Would you like to make $60,000 a year working from home doing date entry? Tempting, but no.  Can you be on the school board, be head of the PTA and organize the school fundraiser?  Hell, no. Can you watch my cat?  Do you have time to make a costume for me? Don't you want in on the ground floor of ......?  No, no and no.

Here is a positive way to look at saying no.  It leaves the door open to say yes.  Do you want to go to an art retreat with me?  Yes!  So much better than, "No. I have a garage sale to organize."  Do you want to go to the park and sketch?  Absolutely.  Can I hire you to teach a class - make a commission for me - consult on an art project?  I love your style. YES!!!!

If setting only three priorities makes you uncomfortable, I have great news.  The priorities you set today don't have to be your priorities forever.  They will always be in flux.  They may change every six months, every week or even daily. As long as they are aligned with what is true to you, they will serve their purpose.  It's not easy, but it's worth it.


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