It all started with the main picture on the front of a recent edition the Daily Telegraph’s sport supplement. It was Wayne Rooney, and the BIG question. Would he stay or would he go?
Now this is at a time when England were engaged in an Ashes battle with the Australians. (It was the First Test and there was still some resistance from the Baggy Greens!), Chris Froome was leading the Tour de France, and The Open Championship was days away. And here we were, featuring a footballer, in July, who was ‘angry and confused’.
Was this really the sports news story of the day? Did the Sports Editor insist that the lead item was yet another transfer saga concerning Wayne, his advisers, his current manager and Jose his potential suitor? Did not a national story take priority? Had the Sports Editor prioritized satisfactorily?
It got me thinking about priorities and prioritizing. By the way is that the correct spelling? Prioritize or prioritise? So I looked it up, because I had a feeling that the word (whichever version you prefer), had seeped into business speak. The official definition from the Free Online Dictionary, is ‘to arrange or deal with in order of importance’. However a little further down there is an addition which states ‘it is often regarded as corporate or bureaucratic jargon’
So Wayne Rooney or England cricket? Order of importance to the Daily Telegraph readers? Right or wrong? Got the priorities right?
How many times have we heard the phrase, ‘we need to prioritize’ from a manager or department head. Have you said it yourself to your team? Isn’t there just a hint of the corporate doublespeak going on, yet another standard phrase from the lexicon of how to conduct a meeting in meaningless phraseology?
Work/Life balance is another one. It’s oft quoted in recruitment adverts, commented on at interviews, and referred to on many occasions as a key component of the company’s ethos.
Personally, I think it’s about time we dispensed with this hackneyed phrase and started to walk the walk on this subject. There is no balance, it is about life.
For me, the priority is ‘Family comes first’. And I’ve affirmed that on several occasions to the people in my teams. If you apply this maxim, you don’t need to balance anything. It’s all about priorities. Understanding what those priorities are becomes the crucial call.
‘Make room in your life for your life’
Last summer, I was on holiday in Cornwall with all my family. Two sons, wife, daughter in law, and now a little grandson. We were in Marazion, the evening sun was dipping over St Michael’s Mount, we were waiting for a restaurant to open, and La Famille Edmundson were sitting in a play ground, watching little Joshie, aged 18 months, discovering for the first time the joys of a slide and crawl-through tunnel.
Except we weren’t all together. Dad (elder son Rob), was away on the edge of the playground, with his back to the fun, on the phone to his company. The phone call endured, minutes passed. Son Joshie, was having sooo much fun. Nothing can replicate the sheer joy and laughter of a happy toddler. As Rob finished his telecon, I went over to him. He knew of course. ‘Sorry, I know, I know, I’m supposed to be on holiday but that was really important.’
‘So important, Rob, that you’ve missed some golden times. Your son, exploring and discovering something he’s never seen or experienced before. Those precious minutes you will NEVER replace or get back. You missed the look of wonder and excitement on his face’
We often remark about the passage of time. And usually it concerns the speed of the passing. We are all guilty about losing the focus of what really matters in our lives. What really is our priority. With my two children now aged 34 and 31, I can reflect with genuine shock at how quickly those years have gone by. With a grandson to chase around parks and fields, it is very stark as to how much we take for granted, how much we really fail to priotitize.
Even now, there are moments, when after a full day with a demanding 2 year old, the lure of a quiet sit down in front of the telly instead of helping with bath time seem very attractive. But Joshie will never be 2 again and it is an absolute priority to spend every possible minute to savour those very special times. They will never come around again.
But your inbox will always be full, and for me, that’s not a priority.