The Challenge of Prioritizing

Multiple paths can’t be traveled all at once. Prioritizing is the key to choosing their order.

I love to have a lot to do. Frankly, when I have nothing to do, I get restless.

Hence, there is more than one path I am on at this time. Each path takes me to an overall end goal of feeling more connected between myself and the world.

But I am just one man. I can’t be in two places at once (okay, truth is, I CAN sort of be in 2 places at once. Thank you, technology — I can be in my home office and online at the same time. However — this is still an absurd digression). Nobody can walk two or more paths at a time — except when they become one-in-the-same. For example — I-80 and I-90 are the same interstate highway for a while from Ohio to Indiana.

I am on the following paths right now:

  • Increasing book sales to earn more money
  • Getting into better shape and meeting my goal weight
  • Daily writing and editing to produce sufficient material to earn my living
  • Helping other people with mindfulness, conscious reality creations, et al

That’s four different paths. While they sometimes intersect with one another and even blend into one, they are still different.

How do I travel them all? This requires prioritizing

Prioritizing is an ongoing matter

There are numerous resources for creating to-do lists and tracking the things you need to get done. These get broken down to daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and onwards. Plans can be made and changed as you work on the things you need/want/desire to do.

But then, just because you have the list, doesn’t mean you have it ordered.

Plus, today’s order may differ from tomorrow’s order. How do you adjust for that?

Prioritizing.

Prioritizing is taking your to-do list and determining when each item needs to be done. There are always time-sensitive matters (contests, deadlines, business hours, etcetera), resource-sensitive matters (the availability of necessary materials — tangible or intangible), and anytime matters (no deadline, no issues acquiring resources, self-employment, and so on).

When it comes to your path, however, more often than not the trip is an anytime matter. For example, increasing book sales to earn more money is super important to me — but there is no set deadline for making this happen — except for any I self-impose. Getting into better shape and helping other people also fall into anytime matters.

Daily writing and editing are time-sensitive, so easier to set and forget, so to speak.

Thus, it’s up to me to prioritize when I choose to work on a given path. Sure, I can attempt to work on it all at once — but that’s just going to create gridlock.

I may be a talented multitasker — but — all the studies show that multitasking tends to get less done than unitasking. The key is to prioritize each task rather than shift too frequently around them.

To do this, I need to work on prioritizing my paths.

Little steps add up

To quote Lau Tzu,

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The only way to walk a given path is to take one step at a time. When you have more than one path in front of you, the choice of which to traverse is on you and you alone.

Thus, it’s up to me to prioritize which path to take when.

This has never been one of my strong suits. Like my overall writing practice, I tend to go by the seat of my pants.

Up until very recently, I would sit at my computer and write. Little to no plan, I just went with it. While I still do this for articles like this one — I have the topic set as I begin — I just began planning my fiction.

As part of my path to write and edit daily to increase productivity, I took an idea for my next sci-fi epic and planned it out. I wrote out background information, then plotted an outline for each chapter. In about 10 days, I had in front of me the outline for 4 new novels.

With that, I sat down to start writing those novels. In just over 2 months I had written 2 new sci-fi novels.

Writing every single day produces articles and fiction at an astounding rate. But now I need to get to editing daily, too.

To increase book sales, I hired someone. Working with her and her company, I think we can make this go. This required a step outside of my comfort zone.

These articles help people. I have recently been quoted and thanked for something I wrote by complete strangers. That feels amazing.

Every. Single. Step. Counts. When to take them is a matter of prioritizing.

How do you practice prioritizing?

Both creating a to-do list and prioritizing are practices of mindfulness.

Yes, of course, this all comes down to mindfulness. Does that surprise you in the least?

Mindfulness is the conscious awareness of your mindset/headspace/psyche and overall being. It’s acknowledging who you are, where you are, and what you are to yourself. Since nobody is in your head but you, this is all about you. But not in a selfish needy way.

On the surface, practicing mindfulness is about being aware and conscious, right now, of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. When you have that awareness underway you gain control of your overall mindset/headspace/psyche.

Mindfulness is also how you determine what path — if any — you’re on. And if it’s the path that is right for you.

What paths are the right paths for you? The ones that excite you. The paths that feel good, right, and true to you. For some people, that comes down to their standard routines. If that provides you with connection and contentedness — more power to you.

For some, however, they desire greater connection, and thus they choose less conventional paths. If you are anything like me, you see a lot of options in front of you. Potential and possibility and experiences you desire to have.

You can work to have them all. BUT — this often requires prioritizing. Multiple paths can’t be traveled all at once. Prioritizing is the key to choosing their order.

One important caveat

No matter what you desire to do with your life, just remember that you are worthy and deserving of it. Don’t let our fear-based society overwhelm you and keep you from getting where you desire to be. You have it here and now, even when you can’t see it.

Just remember that any and all paths you choose are about you, and you alone. You cannot make anyone else do anything. This is both a combination of the inherent free will of the human race and the fact that you are the only one inside your head. You can’t get into anyone else’s. Maybe you can offer them lessons, ideas, and information — but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it take a drink.

Being present and mindful lets you know what you desire. Then, you can prioritize the steps along the path to get to it. But your path is all about you, and you can’t make others take it with you. For an example of someone trying to do this and failing utterly — look at Trump’s attempts to change the election in his favor.

Do no harm. Be the awesomest you that you can be. Prioritize the things you are doing as you traverse whatever paths you are in this life. Kick ass, take names and enjoy the ride.

How are you prioritizing your paths?

Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, the philosophy of choosing and walking your path, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on December 9, 2020.

Written by

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

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