How Many Priorities Are Too Many?

Did you know the word “priority” wasn’t even part of the English language until about 600 years ago? Not only that it was used exclusively in the singular, as in you could only have one, for 500 years! It wasn’t until the last century that we decided we could have more than one priority and started using the word “priorities”.  But what makes something a priority and at what point are there so many priorities that there are actually no priorities because everything has an urgent status?

My executive coaching clients start seeing me for a myriad of difference reasons. But one thing that is universally true is they are ALL juggling a lot of priorities. Their lives are filled to the brim with running around and doing things, very often to the detriment of taking care of themselves.  If that sounds like you, let me highlight one of the first exercises I do with them:

Make a list of all the macro “areas” in your life – This might include: Work, Home, School, Social, Church, Self, Community, Sleep (don’t forget that one!) etc

Take each item on the list and break it down into “projects”. I’ll use Home as an example:
Home:  Spouse, Kids, Yard, Groceries, Dinner, Lunches, Laundry, etc

If possible, break it down even further.
    Kids: Homework, School project, T-ball, Ballet
    Yard: Mow lawn, Weed beds, Prune shrubs, plant garden

Look at each project independently and answer this question – How much time a week do I need/want to spend on this?

It is going to take some time to drill down each macro category. I suggest my clients use index cards. That way we can spread them out like a flow chart. The thing that is most surprising to everyone I do this project with is how much the total time ends up being. I can guarantee you will have more hours than there are in a week.

Now you have a basic understanding of what is going on in your life and how much time it takes, Where are your priorities? How many of them are there? How many hours of your week are dedicated to them? What about the other stuff? Is it okay to let it fall by the wayside?

So you tell me – How many priorities are too many?

Finally, if you could only do one thing – Which card would you pick up?

As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential,

Doc Robyn

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Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please call 302-307-3091 or email her at

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