Defining Priorities

Setting and maintaining priorities is difficult. To paraphrase Charles Hummel, on any given day we are faced with hundreds of urgent choices and perhaps as many important choices. The urgent choices aren't always important, and the important choices aren't always urgent. I inevitably spend more time answering email than I should because a full inbox is urgent but not always important.

One of the ways I've found extremely helpful in defining priorities is to ask myself a simple question at strategic points in my life (see my post yesterday): For my specific role, what are the things that can not get done if I don't do them?

Notice, the question is not "what are the things that will not get done if I don't do them." The answer to that question can be skewed by someone who can't delegate well.

What are the things that can not get done if I don't do them? Those are my priorities.

As a father, nobody else can father my kids like I can. It isn't anyone else's responsibility,

As a husband, nobody else can love my wife like Christ loved the church the way I can.

As the lead pastor of a church, there are certain responsibilities that nobody but the lead pastor can do.

Those are my priorities.

Plenty of people could speak at conferences. Plenty of people could write blogs. Plenty of people could make certain decisions or have certain conversations that make up an urgent part of my day. But at the end of my day, my goal is to at least have accomplished the things that only I can do. I have to be vigilant about defining priorities. Otherwise, those priorities will be removed from me when I am replaced by someone who does what only someone in that role can do.