Working with your roles and responsibilities list

A quick recap

Over the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about roles and responsibilities, and how to identify them. A quick recap: during your review time you’re going to have a think about the roles and responsibilities in your life, and do a separate exercise for work if you need to. You’re going to be working with these so have them in a list somewhere handy. Scribbled in a notebook is fine for now if you don’t have time to do anything else with them. Here are two more types of ‘life role’ that you might want to add to the list.

Time-limited roles

Take into consideration important but time-limited roles, if you’re involved in a project with a beginning and end date. For example, you’re directing the pantomime at the local youth group, you’re managing a house build, you’ve volunteered to help with breakfast club at school for a term, you’re dog sitting for your sister.

Aspirational roles and responsibilities

You could also consider aspirational roles and responsibilities – ones that you’re working towards – on top of the others.  In other words, it’s ok to add ‘writer’ if you’ve never published anything, or musician if you’ve only just started looking into music teachers, or house builder even if you don’t have the finances for your self-build yet. I had ‘parent?’ on my list of roles for ages before our son came along. Having it on the list helped me to weigh it up, and consider the pros and cons. Don’t bamboozle yourself with too many roles though. Capture the thought in your notebook, but you don’t have to investigate all of them right now.

Take some time to ponder

During your review time, you’re going to look at each area of your life in turn and answer these questions:

  • What are the opportunities and difficulties in each area?
  • In this area of your life, is there anything you need to research or train for or learn?
  • Take the opportunity to decide to ‘rest’ or delegate a task or responsibility for a year if you need to.
  • Take a look at each of the opportunities and difficulties in turn: is there anything you could do about them?

Ranking your roles and responsibilities

Some of the productivity books tell you to rank your roles and responsibilities in order of importance, so you can decide which to focus on. Perhaps you need to do that if you’ve ended up with loads, or if there are several big ones competing for your time and they seem to be in conflict with one another. Personally, I think it’s ok to come up with your top three, with up to three in second place, and no more than three runners up. ‘Me-Caretaker’ (or whatever you’ve decided to call it) needs to be one of the top ones. If you have three each in first, second and third place, you’ll end up with nine on the ‘important’ list.

What to do about it

You’re aiming to come up with a list of the roles and responsibilities you wish to prioritise over the next year. Put them in first, second or third place, with three tied for first, and no more than three in second and third place. For instance (not ‘right’, simply an example):

1. Me-Caretaker, Mum, Partner

2. Small business owner, teacher, family member

3. Volunteer, dog-owner, choir member




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