This post has been a long time coming. My wife is expecting our first child any day now, and we've been doing all the things expectant, first-time parents are doing, which is to say, probably a lot of things we won’t be doing when our second might come along! The writing of this post has therefore been delayed, again and again, over the past few weeks, because getting ready for the arrival of our first born has taken priority over nearly everything else.
It's progressed only in my mind, having failed to make that giant leap onto the screen. It's been something I've 'had to get around to doing', something that would be produced 'when I had some free time', which, in today’s busy world, few of us have.
In short, this post was a priority with a lower case ‘p’. But as I sat down at my computer last Saturday morning, staring at the screen and trying to make sense of all the ideas that had been swimming around in my head, it got me thinking about our priorities, and how our respective career success, for example, comes from having a clear understanding of them and where they rank.
I’m a big believer in the maxim, 'Done is better than perfect.' It recognises that in the pursuit of perfection, a noble yet futile pursuit in my opinion, we can often focus too much on the little things, spending endless time on minor details that only have a marginal effect on the end result. It's a maxim that can be applied to working life, too; it’s important we're clear on the tasks – the priorities – that matter most, the things that will get us that salary raise, secure that promotion, develop that fragile working relationship and build our credibility. Looking for a new job is a priority when you're in one you don’t like, for example, but it’s a priority that is suddenly spelt with an upper case ‘P’ when suddenly you find yourself out of work.
Some of us get our priorities mixed up. To be fair, it's easy to get them confused in this day and age, when the to-do list is never ending and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. The presence of a vision is important; liken it to your own career map. Knowing the action required to get from point A to point B means you’ll recognise whether a pit stop at point C is really necessary, or even worth it.
It’s not rocket science, but it's not as simple as we’d all like it to be, either. Whether you’re preparing for the arrival of a baby or for the next step in your career, being able to sort your priorities – to be able to distinguish those spelt with an uppercase 'P' from a lowercase 'p' – is critical. What are you focused on right now? Are you sweating the small stuff, or have you got your eyes on the prize?