EP 09 // 3 Steps to Prioritize Better

Ep 09

Thank you for joining today’s #AskAkua episode! This conversation is all about time prioritization. Akua brings 2 brand new questions from listeners and shares her perspective and advice. If you have other ideas or advice in response to these questions, please share with Akua through social media or by commenting below to continue the conversation.

In her experience, leaders have had 2 problems with time: needing to save time or needing to create time. The questions today will encourage you to revisit and possibly rethink how you prioritize your time. Where do you place relationships when you think about productivity and prioritization? Where do you start when everything seems important? How do you make prioritization a natural part of your work routine? Akua reminds us that productivity is a result of how you feel about things and explains her answers to these questions in today’s episode.


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What's Covered in this Episode About Intention Setting

  • Prioritizing work deadlines and personal relationships
  • Analyzing the assumptions, we make in questions
  • Prioritizing when you are overwhelmed
  • Building the habit of prioritizing in your business
  • 3 basic things to consider when approaching prioritization
  • Recognizing it as a habit
  • Building structures and systems to support yourself
  • Practicing self-forgiveness ritual
  • What comes up for Akua when she creates new habits

Like Akua, things may come up when you start building new habits in life. What comes up for you when you try something different and build new habits? Let Akua know by reaching out via Instagram direct message.

She looks forward to hearing your perspective!

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Prioritization is a habit, and like any habit, you need to start small and prove to yourself." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "You need to build structures and systems to support you, whether those are internal or external." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Building a practice of self forgiveness and practicing self compassion so that when some of these sorts of thoughts come up, you're able to work through them." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Start with just one daily intention, right. That's what I like to call it, you can call it a goal or priority. I like the word intention." -Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in 3 Steps to Prioritize Better

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Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 09 about Three Steps to Prioritizing Better

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah Chaos respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that, think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this episode of the open door conversations podcast. As always, I am super excited to get to your questions. So this is meant to be a hashtag Ask a cool episode. And as I do with all my hashtag, ask a couple episodes, I have two questions for you. If you want to get your question in, make sure you check out the link in the description to get your question in and I will answer any questions that you share. So today, I would say that the two questions I have are definitely related to what a lot of my conversations are about. And that is supporting leaders with their productivity, supporting leaders with thinking about how to use their time and supporting leaders with where to focus. So I would say that ultimately, I work with two types of leaders, the first who kind of wants a shortcut, right? So they maybe want to build new skills, build their confidence within a shorter period of time, right. So they want to save time, or leaders who want to create time. And the way to create time is usually around learning how to set boundaries and prioritisation. So I would definitely say that both of the two questions that I have today are around that concept of either saving time or creating time. So let's get to the first question. So this first question I thought was really interesting. And I wanted to share it with you all because it actually came from a workshop, a training that I do with leaders, and it's called the most complete time management training ever, because I have the hardest time naming things. So I make things like super literal. And so this was, you know, a training, you know, a three part training that's really all about thinking about how to build your own approach to productivity, because one of the things that I have found is that no one teaches us how to make the most of our time, right. So we really need to learn it for ourselves. And there's really no right or wrong way to do it. So I love sort of sharing principles. And I love short of sharing mind shifts to help people think about how they need to show up. And, of course, most importantly, how they feel showing up. Because ultimately, productivity really is a result of feeling how you feel towards things. So let's get into the question. So the question is, shouldn't work deadlines come first ahead of relationships, since deadlines are not every day or every time, but your relationships will always be there. So those of you who are listening to this podcast episode, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'd love to hear your perspective. As always, typically, if I'm having a coaching conversation, it's not going to be about my opinion or my agenda. But because I am hosting this conversation that is one sided, I'll be sharing some of the things that I thought and I shared with this particular individual or this particular participant, that was part of my training. So the first thing that I wanted to sort of make sure that this particular participant was aware of was that he was making several assumptions in this question. So I always will push back really, as a coach to sort of ask like, what is important about this question, try and get a little bit more context. I, of course, don't want to share all the context on this podcast episode. But just really recognising that if you're asking this question, there must be a reason. So what is important about this question, why are you asking this question? What are the important elements to think about in this question? And most importantly, what are some of the assumptions that you're making? So the first thing I sort of pointed out to this participant was that he was making an assumption that their relationships will always be there. There was also this assumption that, you know, work deadlines. And this is of course, my interpretation of perspective based on how we share this question that work deadlines were more important because they weren't consistent thing that came every so often so that the assumption in this case was that the relationship was strong enough to sort of be put on the backburner or strong enough to come in second place potentially. Once again, of course, I am projecting onto this question, my own perspective. But I do think these are important questions that you need to ask yourself, ultimately, it's up to you. Ultimately, life is all about choices. And so you need to make a choice that makes the most sense for where you are, within whatever season you are in, in your life. That was kind of that was a lot. But the reason why I say it that way, or the reason why I wanted to put it that way is that because you might be in a part of, you know, you might be Yeah, in a season in your life, where you've decided that work is super important. And because work is super, super important, your priorities are going to look a certain way, this might look very different if you're 25 versus 45. So really just recognising that the answer that you might come to depending on where you on your life might be very different. But at the end of the day, you get to decide where your time goes. And it's really important that you are recognising that you made that decision, right, no one can make that decision for you. So always check in to see if your assumptions, your approaches your behaviours are getting you the results that you want. And as I pointed out previously, the assumption that your relationships will always be there may not be serving you. Because a relationship is a two way street. Whether this is a platonic relationship, or a romantic relationship or relationship with your mother, really recognising that, you know, you need to make sure that you're checking in and whoever this person is, or whoever you have this relationship with is on the same page. So once again, I would definitely say this is a personal decision, it will look different in each situation. I'd love to hear from those of you listening to this, how you would approach this or how you would answer this based on where you are currently in life. I will say I know that personally, I feel a lot more energised and excited about work and getting things done after connecting with people who are important to me. So for me, I know that taking the time to engage with people taking the time to reconnect, taking the time to have fun with people who are important to me, makes it so much easier for me to stay motivated in whatever that whatever I am doing. So that's that's my perspective, based on where I am currently in my life, it might have looked really different a few years ago, but for where I am right now, it's really important to me to make sure that I'm connecting with people who are encouraging, who support me, who helped get me out of my head, and who allow me to take breaks from my work because I could just work forever and ever. So that's really the first question I have really about relationships and thinking about where you place relationships when you're thinking about productivity, and prioritisation. So the second question is all about how to start to prioritise. And this actually comes from one of my one on one clients who said something along the lines of everything is important. I don't know where to start, I can't start because everything is important. Everything is urgent, everything. And that's not true. Obviously, this particular client I had was a bit overwhelmed. And so the first step really was just to, you know, just take a few deep breaths, take a second, you know, really try to recalibrate, and start to recognise that privatisation is a habit. And yes, I said habits. And I said habits simply because it is a routine. It's something that you build over time. And so whatever relationship you have towards prioritisation or even whatever you've decided productive, he looks like at the end of the day is something you've done over time. And you might be doing it pretty much subconsciously at this point, you're just doing it and maybe haven't put much thought through it. So if you don't feel like you have a structure to get things done or enough time, that is a habit. And so whether you feel overwhelmed, like you're putting out fires without much thought or jumping around, that is a habit. And like any habit, you can shift it with the right structures and incentives in place. So in my perspective, there's three basic things you need to think about when you're building a new approach to prioritisation, or a new approach really to think about where you want to spend your time and your energy, a new approach to really focusing. And the first really is recognising and accepting that it's a habit. And so like any habit, you need to start small and prove to yourself. So an element of this is actually self trust, right? So you're going to do it. So like any habit, you need to start small and prove to yourself that you can keep your priorities and better yet promises. So if you start to think about your priorities, like promises, you will really potentially see a shift and how you show up and how you get things done. The second thing I think that's really crucial to being able to build this this habit of prioritisation that really once again, is about promises that you are making to yourself and maybe even others is making sure that you are building structures and systems to support you. So you need to keep in mind how much you know you want to do and you need to keep in mind How you want to remind yourself to refocus or stay on track. And so there are triggers. And I think if any of you listening to this have any read any sort of content or research really around habits and habits and how you build habits and things like that, we typically talk about triggers and how things in your environment can help to trigger you. So you can use technology to trigger you can use an accountability to trigger you, a lot of my clients use me sometimes as a trigger. And so really just recognising that you can build those things into your schedule, you can build those things into your day into your week to help trigger you so that you can refocus and get back on track, if that's something that you want to do. So one of the things I always recommend with my clients is thinking about an ideal week, and also thinking about how many hours you actually want to work. Having an ideal week, just something that you can glance at to help sort of recalibrate, get you back on track can be incredibly motivating. And for me, once again, it helps keep my energy high, because I'm like, Oh, yep, that's what I'm gonna be working on. Oh, yep, that makes sense. Oh, yeah, I'm excited to do that. And as I've mentioned before, on one of my previous episodes, every single day of my week looks very different. And that's something that's really important to me, that might not resonate with you for you, you might be able to do the same thing every single day. But for me, I like doing different things on different days of the week. And I sort of have an ideal week, that helps keep me moving forward or reminds me of where my focus is supposed to be for that day. All right. Another thing that you can do to help refocus on steroids or stay on track is having a goal. So for some people, having a goal can really work for them. Once again, if you've seen any of my content, you know, I'm really, really big on having various small tangible steps or intentions. And I use that to help me move forward towards a bigger goal, of course, and another thing to keep in mind is that you will not always follow through with everything. And that is entirely normal that is completely and entirely normal. And that's why this next element I'm going to share is super important. So the third element is around building a self Forgiveness Ritual and practising self compassion. That's a huge part of being able to prioritise and being able to show up and feel productive. So the question is, how can you remind yourself that you are human? What ritual routine can you go through, so you don't beat yourself up and can continue to build that habit of prioritisation? Because you need to remember, right? This is a big thing. And this is something I always love to share with my clients that the human brain likes the familiar and it's scary to do things differently. So practising compassion, celebrating the things that you've accomplished, no matter how small can be a massive way to keep you motivated in a massive way to keep you moving forward. Okay. So once you've done some of those three things that I've shared, or some level, those three things I've shared, here's something that I would really suggest you try. And I've mentioned this before in some previous podcasts. And if you've ever lost any of my content, I talk a lot about this, but start with just one daily intention, right. That's what I like to call it, you can call it a goal or priority. I like the word intention. For some people, honestly, just having a different word that resonates with them more can actually lead to success. So really recognising that like, if intention doesn't resonate, or you don't like the word goal, you don't like the word vision, you can choose a different word and really use that moving forward. So I like to choose one small task that can be completed within five to 10 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, it's really up to you. And that can really help you set up your day, right, build some momentum, build some self trust, right, allow you to get an early win in right and of course, is directly related to the larger goals or vision that you've already set, I would suggest that you try and do this daily to build that habit to build that prioritisation muscle, and you can share it with a family member or a colleague, I work with clients, they will share it with me as their coach, sometimes you can send it to yourself, or record it for yourself in a voice note or email, just something really small that can get you feeling like you can trust yourself and get yourself moving forward. Okay? Always check in with yourself to see whether or not you've completed it personally like to complete mind as close to the beginning of the morning as possible. And if you don't do it, don't beat yourself up. Just really think about how can I break this down even smaller to a smaller, achievable tasks that I can get done, alright. And remember, it's scary to change everything at once, and your brain will rebel. So that is why we start small, okay, that is why we get so small with these intentions. And a key part of getting your systems in place is also making sure that you think through some of the things that can get in your way. So the question I want to ask you, and I'll share some of the things that come up for me when I think about changing things around is what are some of the thoughts, emotions, feelings that might come up for you when you try and shift your work habits or if you try and shift your approach to productivity or you try and shift your focus. Okay, so this is some of the stuff that comes up for me, the first thing that comes up for me is that fear of missing out, Okay, another thing is that I'm going to potentially miss out on money. So I work for myself, and so I tell myself, Oh, if I shift or change if I do something different, I might miss out on some money. Okay. I might feel like I'm going to fail. And that's what sort of keeps me from actually following through or, you know, not breaking something down. afraid I'm not focusing on the right thing, right? That, you know, maybe I sort of go into this mode of like, well, I could, you know, fry and focus, but it's a waste of time, nothing will come out of it anyway. Right, I don't trust myself, I might start comparing myself to others, potentially, I might feel like I can't concentrate long enough. And that is why having an intention that's very short, that you can complete within a short time period is so key. So there's so many things right, that can really come up for you when you try and make a change, or you approach things differently. And that's why it's so very important that you follow those three steps, right? Recognising and accepting that prioritisation is a habit, building structures and systems to support you whether those are internal or external. And finally building a practice of self forgiveness and practising self compassion so that when some of these sorts of thoughts come up, you're able to work through them and really deal with them. Alright, so let me know what are some of the things that come up for you when you're trying something new, right, and building this new habit of prioritisation building a new approach to productivity is something new. Okay? If you let me know, you can hit me up and you know, my social media DMS and we can walk through them or talk through them together. Alright, but the key thing really to recognise when you are building this, this this new habit of prioritisation is that feelings, thoughts and emotions will come up, right? So don't try and drown them out. But also don't try and dwell. You will be ready to work through them and prove them wrong if you've taken the time to work through those three steps that I've already mentioned. Right? It's a habit build the structures and systems to support you and finally build a self forgiveness and practice self compassion. So those are the two questions that I have for you today. Thank you so much as always for taking the time to listen if you would like to ask me a question for the next hashtag Ask a cool episode. Please make sure you check out the link in the description box below. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.


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