Hello, and welcome to the weekend! I hope you’ve had a nice lie-in.
If you’ve read yesterday’s post, you will already know that I decided to turn my phone off for 24 hours. The main downside of this choice should have been communication issues, but luckily my flat mate tells me where I’m meant to be most of the time anyway, so that was fine.
The hardest part was actually the lack of sound. I am always listening to music or a podcast, so wandering around without my earphones in felt very odd. It was also pretty strange to go without the Notes feature on my iPhone for a day, because I use it all the time for blog ideas and so on. The upshot of this was that I went to bed last night with a load of ideas scribbled down my arm. These notes have now been partially transferred to my face and one of my pillows.
Embarrassing face-tattoos aside, today I would like to talk about priorities. Yesterday I managed to work my way through a hefty amount of stuff on my to do list because I wasn’t distracted by my phone, so now my set of priorities has shifted. Our priorities change all of the time: on a day-to-day basis they adapt to our immediate circumstances, but on a longer-term basis they shift depending on where life has taken us. A university student’s priorities might be finishing an essay one day and applying for graduate jobs the next, for example.
People are always saying that we need to get our priorities straight, but it’s incredibly difficult to do. How do you balance your daily duties with your lifelong endeavours? How do we find a way to get our wiggly priorities aligned with one another?
We prioritise things for two reasons: their immediacy and their importance. In contemporary life there is an enormous emphasis on immediacy from employers, friends and even the media. We are constantly being told to believe that sooner is better, and I don’t think that that’s always true. Good things come to those who wait, even in the simplest cases (like when you’re at a bus stop).
I was having a very deep and meaningful conversation about priorities with a friend the other day, and at one point he said “wouldn’t it be nice to be someone’s priority?” Oof. Right in the feelings. Of course it would, but surely you are the person whose priority you ought to be?
What do you actually want today? Do you want to feel like you’ve achieved something? Do you want to spend time with some people who love you? Do you want to go on an adventure? Do you, in fact, want to build a snowman? (Trickier to accomplish in this weather, but not impossible.)
I think that we have to trust that the day-to-day priorities (like work deadlines, essays and so on) will get us where we need to go in the bigger picture, but that paying attention to what we actually want will get us where we’d like to be. I personally want to see Arsenal win the FA Cup, so my priority is to go to the pub with the boys and shout at a massive television screen. To each their own.
Carlsberg don’t do Saturdays, but if they did, it’d probably be this one. Have a cracker.