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September 18, 2006



Need some advice on defining and sticking to priorities. Especially the "sticking to" part. Seems I get very distracted by things and I have a hard time "disciplining" myself to stick to the work that needs to be done. I have plenty to do, maybe I don't WANT to do it, and I escape by goofing

Alan Allard

R.E. Sticking to priorities:

Just as there are "stated values" and "actual values" there are "stated priorities" and "actual priorities." Meaning, just because one states that "x" is a priority doesn't mean that it is.

How do we know the difference between "stated" and "actual" priorities or values? The litmus test is behavior.

Personal congruency involves aligning "actual priorities" with behavior, and that can only come about with self-honesty.

For instance, if I am not yet honest with myself about what I really want, then I will likely persuade myself that what I want is not attainable and I'll settle for less than what I want, investing my time and energy in what I really don't want.

A less than useful loop of behavior is then created, in effect, a "stuck state." An effective coach is able to move an individual or a group out of the "stuck state" and into productive and fullfilling behaviors.


Alan Allard, M.A.

Mary Schmidt

I'm a big believer in productive procrastionation. If you're stuck, stop. Go do something totally unrelated. The really important stuff will get done.

Then there's way too much "busy for the sake of busy" these days - it's addictive, I know. But, really, people don't have to be in touch, on-line, 24/7. It's unhealthy and ultimately actually hurts productivity.

Try this if you get stuck - take a stickie note each day. Write down three things. Do them (Keep this realistic - Don't write down, "Research, write and distribute new business plan to targeted VCs) DO list things that you can accomplish. You'll likely get a lot more done than those three things - and the psychological benefit of accomplishing something will get you back on track and focused.

Bud Bilanich

Great advice. When I get writer's block, I always walk away from the writing. When the words won't come, I've learned that the ideas are not well formed in my mind. So I agree with you -- a little procrastination is not a bad thing. In fact, it can act as a catalyst for thoughts and actions.

Bud Bilanich

Great advice on getting out of a stuck state. Your comments on stated values vs actual values remind me of Chris Argyris' thoughts on "espoused theory" and "theory in use". I agree with you. What we do says more about what we believe than what we say.
Thanks for your comment,

Bud Bilanich

Mary and Alan offer some great suggestions.
I think you may be on to something -- an insight about yourself and what's really important to you -- when you say that maybe you don't WANT to do things you set out for yourself.
You might want to check out Wednesday's post on my other blog
All the best,

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