Priority.

priority noun pri·or·i·ty \prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē, -ˈär-\  : something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first.

 

Historically, there was but one priority.  No priorities.  Singular, solamente, the priority.

That is how the word should still be used, unfortunately it is not so.  Many are convinced that multi-tasking ( the word multi-tasking was invented in 1965 by IBM to describe computer processes ) increases productivity.  This is not true, rather it fractures one’s focus; both rate of productivity and quality of work suffer as attention is fragmented.

 

The mantra for many militaries is and has been ‘prioritize and execute.’  This is a simple phrase that can ground you if you feel overwhelmed.  Pause.  Look at your situation.  Determine what is most pertinent.  Take action.

“Stop spinning: Prioritize and Execute. Pick the highest impact idea and do it. Then move onto the next. Then the next…”

-Words from Jocko Willink

 
This strikes a zen chord.  And who else, but Alan Watts should ruminate one this:

 

 

 

“The art of washing dishes is that you only have to wash one at a time. If you’re doing it day after day, you have in your mind’s eye an enormous stack of filthy dishes that you have washed up in years past and an enormous stack of filthy dishes which you will wash up in years future. But if you bring in your mind to the state of reality which just is – as I have pointed out to you – only Now. This is where we are. There is only Now. You only have to wash one dish! It’s the only dish you ever have to wash! This one!”

 

What is your priority?

 

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”

-Shunryu Suzuki

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