Why Prioritize?


Kids are infamous for asking “why” about almost anything.

Jason Leydon, the owner of CrossFit Milford in Milford, Connecticut, is embracing his inner child when it comes to prioritization. He asks himself “why” time and time again to get to his mission of what he’s trying to do. That way he can find the priorities around what he’s looking to accomplish. 

“Anything that doesn’t fall into those categories, those priorities, doesn’t really need attention,” said Leydon. “Set your priorities, not someone else’s priorities. Make sure what you’re doing lines up with who you are and what your mission is and all the decisions you make are based around your mission.”

Tim Steel, the owner of CrossFit Hershey in Annville, Pennsylvania, said prioritization is arranging your values in order of importance. However, that order can change over time. While he coached every class eight years ago when he first opened, he now only coaches 20 percent of them. He spends most of his time in roles of leadership and oversight, and on tasks of programming and development.

While Steel said the change in his priorities was a good thing — as he wants to spend more time with his kids — it doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard to let go of certain tasks. “I was resistant to reduce my coaching role, but we worked hard to bring in the best Coaches in the area to make it a smooth transition,” said Steel. “We do a lot of coaching clinics and have weekly meetings so we can all stay abreast of the things we need to address within our community.”

But sometimes, even once you know your why, it’s hard to figure out what you should be doing. Leydon shared a mentor early on made him do a brain dump, listing everything he did minute by minute for a week. “That really helped me with establishing my daily schedule around priorities and what I’m trying to do,” he said.

However, he did share this is how he’s wired – thinking in lists and structures. In fact, he keeps several Moleskine notebooks, listing everything he has to do the next day and its level of importance. 

For those on his staff who don’t have this mindset, or for other Affiliates who struggle with this, Leydon said it ultimately comes down to figuring out why you’re doing what you’re doing. Then, figure out what you need to do on a minute, hourly, daily and weekly basis to continue to move in the right direction. “Understand the way you operate best and line it up to allow your character and personality traits to really shine with how you need it to shine,” he shared. “One of the biggest things leaders can do is try to lead people the way they need to be led, and not try and expect people to follow the way you necessarily are.”

Steel gave several tips when it came to lessons learned in prioritization. “Create a plan. Write things down. Have a mentor in the business you can run ideas by,” he said. “I have two other Affiliate owners who I really respect who have helped me with ideas and implementing those ideas. And be open to change. Again, change is good.”

But perhaps the biggest thing Steel has learned when it comes to succeeding in prioritization is to trust in his staff and the Coaches he’s building. While it will always be a battle, that is one tool that will help him succeed. “Trust them to accomplish the things you have assigned them to do,” he said. “Trust them to step their game up when needed.”  

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.