For several years I’ve used the acronym PRIME to help me organize myself and keep my priorities in order. I had noticed that I was using my planner to help me get things done, but that it wasn’t helping me deal with the other priorities in my life.
For years I’ve used a desktop paper planner to help me keep track of the details that went along with getting my job as a school administrator done. There were just too many details and deadlines and keeping them in my head wasn’t an option. Besides, after giving birth to three kids, the memory wasn’t as good as it used to be.
But while I was getting TASKS done, I wasn’t necessarily focusing on PRIORITIES. I knew that I needed a way to keep my life in balance because it was just too easy to do the stuff but skip the substance. Thus the PRIME acronym.
I would write the word PRIME vertically in one corner of my planner page. These letters allowed me to list the things that needed to be done or tracked for each day. For example, I’d list how much water I managed to drink under the P category. I’d make note of when I needed to call my parents under the R category. This kept me from looking up and realizing that I’d neglected to call my mother for a whole month or that I was forgetting to get the H2O down each day because of my soda addiction. Using PRIME allowed me to focus on all the parts of my life and not just the job related tasks.
I’ve also used PRIME as a way to set my New Year’s resolutions and monthly goals. Each year I sit down and think about what I want to achieve that year. Now I’ll admit that every year the first goal under the Physical category is to lose weight (I imagine that’s not uncommon!). But I’ve also made it a point to get more sleep each night, to drink more water, to increase my exercise time, etc.
Goals under the Relationship category have included such things as making sure that I spent time with friends each month and remembering to schedule a girl’s day out each summer with a friend who lived far away. It was also a reminder to focus on each of my kids by planning outings with each of them separately.
The Inner self category has been where I’ve set reading goals. I’ve always loved reading but the amount of professional reading I was required to do – and then the reading required in graduate school – frequently kept me from engaging in pleasure reading. I also wanted to become more well-rounded in my reading material. I admit to a love for romances and mystery novels, but I wanted to be sure that I also read from other genres. This was a place to pick some specific books I wanted to read during the year based on reviews and recommendations I’d gotten from friends or best-seller lists.
The Money category gave me a place each day to record any daily expenditures (trips to Sonic do add up!) and to remind myself to do the boring things like checking financial accounts and keeping an eye on balances. Using PRIME both in yearly goals and on daily planner pages has allowed me to plan when to begin working on the income taxes so that April 15 doesn’t roll around and catch me off guard.
And finally, the Escape section is where I’ve recorded my intentional planning to bring more fun and relaxation into my life. I know that doesn’t sound very spontaneous, but the truth of the matter is that if I don’t plan for fun, I often don’t have any. I decided several years ago that all work and no play made me a very unhappy – and grumpy – girl. And you know what they say about “If Mama ain’t happy….”
I’d encourage you to think about your goals for your life. It would be nice if life automatically worked out without prior planning, but that’s just not the way it generally happens – at least it doesn’t for me. Fortunately, with a little thinking, evaluating, dreaming, and planning, you can take control of your days to create the life you want.