Do you prioritise tasks over people?

My blog discussion came about as I remembered a few years ago, I arrived home from work tired. My daughter was trying to grab my attention and I was on a mission to prepare for the next day. I am one of those women who do as much as possible the night before; clothes hung out, toiletries in bathroom, shoes and coats by the door, lunch packed and in fridge. As I was saying, I could hear my daughter in the background and I tried to engage with her whilst buzzing about the house. Later that day my husband and I were talking and he said;
“It seems that getting work done is more important to you than people”

I replied with a defensive tone;
“No, that is not true”

I reflected on this for a few days and had to accept that it was indeed true. I have a long commute (four hours per day) and on arriving home, I touch base with my children, ensure they are fed and bathed then I focus on preparing for the following day. I have little time in which to get things done so just keep on going.

I am extremely task orientated – unsure where this derived from as my mother, though house proud knows when to give herself a break. Part of this definitely comes from my need to prove myself through the tasks and projects I take on. Clearly an insecurity which I need to deal with.

When one is task driven, they can miss people along the way. They can forget to; connect with others, to stop and smell the roses on a summers day, to enjoy the here and now rather than focussing on what comes next. Behind every project and task lies people with feelings, fears, insecurities, hope and aspirations. Regardless of how busy our day is, we must not lose the essence of connecting with others – stopping what we are doing to give them our full attention.

I now make a conscious effort to engage and it is an effort for me as I am an introvert, happy to be left to get on with my projects in peace. I often step out of my comfort zone by going a little further than I feel to. I am learning to deal with being interrupted at home and in my place of work, to become less irritated when someone “stops my flow” so to speak. Having children has certainly had an influence over my flexibility and adaptability. It is rather difficult (nigh impossible) for parents not to allow an element of flexibility in their lives.

Are you more task focused or people focused?
How do you maintain a balance?


18 thoughts on “Do you prioritise tasks over people?”

  1. Phoenicia, we do not intend to prioritize tasks over people, however unintentionally it happens.
    Still, I try and avoid it as much as I can. I try and schedule some time whenever I can for only those who mean a lot to me and also try and make an effort to be a part of my life.


  2. I think it is important to put people first. The time with them is too precious and sometimes shorter than we expect. I am task-oriented and like to get things done, so need to remind myself of that sometimes. But in the end it is more rewarding that a checked off to-do list.


  3. I remember when I was a child wondering why certain of my friends’ parents seemed so stern to me. But in retrospect, they probably weren’t stern. They were probably just juggling a bunch of stuff at once and trying to stay focused. It is great that you give yourself reminders to be in the moment and connect. I’m sure your family appreciates that.


  4. Hi Phoenicia,
    very interesting topic indeed.
    I personally believe that the task of a great leader should be to complete tasks while making others happy or at lease giving them an impression that they are. this is really what we all should aim at


  5. What an interesting topic Phoenicia! I also tend to be task oriented, and while I don’t have children I learned a lot about the importance of dedicating time to the people who count on me when I began managing teams of people. Thanks for this thought provoking post!


  6. People first. I think that comes from my parents and upbringing. While we kids had chores, my parents were always up for fun. I’m still not sure if they indulged us or we indulged them. With Easter coming, I think of them hiding Easter eggs for us–over and over and over. I’m sure there were a zillion tasks waiting for their attention, but there they were, playing with us.
    That said, I guard my writing time very closely and will only interrupt it for husband/friends when I know it’s truly important to them.


    1. So this is where your fun loving spirit derives from!

      What fun it must have been for you to have searched for endless chocolate eggs with your parents.

      I keep on telling myself housework will never end. I will never keep on top of it. In four years time, my daughter’s world will be about her friends. I need to spend as much time with her as I can. My son is far younger so I have a lot more time with him!


  7. I really like your mentality and how you can not only see areas where you can self-improve but actually actively try to do something about. I think I need a bit more agency in my life when it comes to that.

    In regards to being a people or task person, I think I am more of a people person. I definitely try to make time for people in my life but if I am doing a task and somebody wants to have a conversation or hang out, I would (depending on how important my task is of course). However, that may also be because I look for any excuse to procrastinate! haha


    1. Thanks for your kind words Emily. I am trying to work in excellence and some area are definitely more of a struggle than others.

      I guess every situation is different so we must use wisdom. On one occasion we may be required to put work aside and others we may have to limit the time we spend with someone due to a pressing deadline. Either way people should be made to feel they are of value to us.


  8. It’s not a question of if people are more importan to you than tasks. It’s simply about having to keep a deadline no matter what. When necessary you have to explain to people that they are important to you but a deadline is a deadline.


  9. Phoenicia, I have a philosophy that I will always make time for people who want to be in my life. That may mean that it takes me a day longer to complete a task, but is that so important? Enjoy the relationships that enrich your life. You will miss them once they’re gone.


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