The Plural of “Priority” is Not a Thing

noun  a thing that is regarded as more important than another.

 Let me just run down my “priorities” for the last five days: watch toddler (ensure stays alive), eat according to specific doctor-prescribed diets (confusing), design new gardens with very specific, city-approved, drought resistant plants (not a skill I have), select doors and mouldings, manage fence construction, handle work fire-drill, handle key work project, and teach a new course. (By the way, there’s really nothing of personal interest to me in this list either – although I benefit from most.)


If that sounded like a wide variety of totally unrelated things, it was. And it felt that way: scattered and manic. My brain was jumping from project to project. My self and concentration were moving from meeting to meeting, answering questions about my fire-drill in between deep consumer research sessions. Incidentally, I feel behind on both / all projects on my plate at this point. I just heard research statistics today that indicate we continue to get busier, to wear our busy-ness as a badge: we check our phones 150 times a day; we check our mail 30 times an hour; household responsibilities are increasing for all members of the household.


I started listening to a book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism. And in setting up the context of the book and why it’s important, he revealed that the word “Priority” has been around for 100s of years. But we only pluralized this word within the last hundred or so. We seem to have decided that there can be MORE than one “most important thing”. When you think about it, that isn’t logical. But when you think about that, do you resist the thought? Do you find yourself saying, “but My family AND my work AND my health, etc.…are all important. I just have to find the way to do it all.”


Just suppose for a minute that you cannot do it all. Take a baby step and just think about this in a work context. Let’s just say that you will be asked to do more this week, and be more places this week than it’s possible for your one person (no cloning – that’s cheating) to accomplish or inhabit. What if you had ONE true priority?


How hard is it for you to see that ONE priority? Can you find it? What tradeoffs will you have to make this week in order to make that priority happen?



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One Response to “The Plural of “Priority” is Not a Thing”

  1. Ewado01
    April 13, 2017 at 9:31 am #

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