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Thriving in 2018: Set Priorities and Expectations


Much to the disappointment of the ambitious, we can’t do it all. So, the best way to set ourselves up for success is to make sure we’re doing the right things at the right time. Being mindful and evaluating our behavior helps us decide what’s most important so we can invest our resources beneficially.

To successfully set priorities and expectations requires fluidity. Life is unpredictable, and in many situations strength is not as important as flexibility. Resolutions serve as an effective starting point for our journey; as that journey progresses, we can check in with ourselves, adjust to obstacles, and change the path to success.

Consider this example:

Melinda wanted to improve her time management. Specifically, she wanted to accomplish everything on each day’s to-do list. As the CEO, Melinda had a lot of responsibilities. She was also the go-to person for many employees, whose interruptions sometimes frustrated her since they impeded her productivity. Everything on Melinda’s to-do list was important and she couldn’t get it all done.

Melinda tried several time management strategies but her efforts to prioritize her time proved ineffective. When she examined her beliefs and thoughts about the situation, she reached these conclusions:

  1. Having an open door policy was essential to being the leader she wanted to be.
  2. Some of the tasks on her list could be done by other people, but she didn’t trust them.
  3. To get enough time for sleep, family and personal needs, she needed to limit her office time to 10 hours per day.
  4. The work she assigned to herself had to get done.

These insights helped Melinda set priorities and expectations for herself and her team. She accepted that she needed to do less in order to be accessible and maintain personal time outside of work. She had to lower the expectation she had set for herself. Since the work was essential, Melinda determined that she would need to delegate more of it to her subordinates. She planned time to explain the new responsibilities to each effected staff member as well as a time to follow up with them and make adjustments if needed.

In the above situation, Melinda’s goals were achieved after she looked beyond changing behavior to the underlying thoughts and beliefs that drove it.

What you can do thrive: Ask, “What is most important right now?” at various times during the year to help you set priorities and expectations. Adjust your goals when needed, and make your actions strategic.

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A lot of the challenges that make work and life difficult are caused by factors beyond our control. But not all of them. Sometimes, in our rush for results and focus on fabulosity, we end up making things harder than they need to be.

I put together this simple quiz to provide a quick reality check and some actionable ideas to help you thrive. Check it out.