Setting clear priorities for how you’re going to use your time and energy can often be a challenge. For academics, figuring out how to arrange the competing demands of research, teaching, and service is but one part of the larger challenge of creating a work-life balance that serves you well. And many professionals today are struggling to keep focused on important projects amidst a flood of incoming emails and meeting requests.
The /now page movement
A few weeks ago, Derek Sivers created a /now page on his website that lists what he’s focusing on right now. This is a simple way to both define one’s priorities in writing, which increases the clarity and attention you can bring to the exercise, and to gain some accountability, by making the page public. Sivers explains:
It’s a nice reminder for myself, when I’m feeling unfocused. A public declaration of priorities.
(If I’m doing something that’s not on my list, is it something I want to add, or something I want to stop?)
It helps me say no, too. When I decline invitations, I point them to that page to let them know it’s not personal.
Soon after he created the page, the idea took off and other people started creating them too. It’s fascinating and often inspiring to look at other people’s lists to see how they choose to define their personal and professional priorities. You can browse a list of people who’ve added theirs to nownownow.com or follow @NowNowNow on twitter which posts links to a page every hour.
Whether you decide to make your /now list public on your website or not, take a few minutes to write out a list of your main priorities right now. This isn’t a to-do list. It’s an overview of the your goals and intentions for the main roles or areas of your life. Taking a few moments to review that list regularly can help you keep those priorities in mind, rather than just responding to incoming tasks on a day-to-day basis. Sharing your list with an accountability partner, coach, or friend can be a great way to spark a conversation about what’s most important to you right now and how to make more time and space for those things.
What are you doing now? Let us know in the comments!
[Creative Commons licensed image from flickr user Pete]