In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell wrote:
“Leaders never advance to a point where they no longer need to prioritize. It is something that good leaders keep doing, whether they’re leading a billion-dollar corporation, running a small business, pastoring a church, coaching a team, or leading a small group. I think good leaders intuitively know that to be true. However, not every leader practices the discipline of prioritizing. Why? I believe there are a few reasons.
First, when we are busy, we usually believe that we are achieving. But busyness does not equal productivity. Activity is not necessarily accomplishment. Second, prioritizing requires leaders to continually think ahead, to know what’s important, to know what’s next, to see how everything relates to the overall vision. That’s hard work. Third, prioritizing causes us to do things that are at the least uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful.”
Other philosophers and writers have also stressed the importance of establishing priorities. In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey devotes an entire chapter to “Put First Things First” and stresses “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
The poet, novelist, playwright, diplomat, and civil servant Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least,”
I am a firm believer that we accomplish what we prioritize and each of us needs to look at what we do and evaluate whether we are doing what we should be doing.
Frequently, people say to me, “I don’t know how you have the time to do everything you do?” Now, think about this. We all have the same amount of time. Why is it that some people get so much more done than others? It is because the ones who get the most done “put first things first” and do not let other activities take precedent over what needs to be done. They have firmly established their priorities.