What to do first? Build the deck? Cut out those bloody caraganas? Watch more hockey? Finish the staining on the staircase? Play some baseball? Fix or replace the front steps? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Therein lies the dilemma. What to prioritize.
I’m fairly certain that regular readers of this column would be able to guess which of the above questions would be priority #’s 1 and 2 to me. I am also confident that you, Dear Reader, would be able to guess which of the above items would be priority #’s 1, 2, 3 and 4 to my wife. Numbers 5 and 6, (that’d be the hockey and baseball for all you bad guessers out there), wouldn’t even make the ol’ To-Do List to start with. Anyway, there’s that old wants and needs thing rearing its ugly head again, eh? I know what I WANT to do but I also know what I NEED to do.
Now don’t confuse prioritizing with production, okay? That’s why we make priority lists. Just because we have determined which order things SHOULD be done doesn’t necessarily mean that’s WHEN they’ll get done. There are just too many variables to determine the actual finishing date of any given project. There are weather considerations, financial considerations, product availability considerations, ambition considerations, health considerations, (which may or may not be confused with the “ambition” considerations), as in… “I can’t possibly start that thing today I’ve got…um…something…uh…I’m hurt…yes, that’s it, I’m hurt. No, no it’s not because game six is on…no, no, you got it all wrong, I’ve got this…this…thing…and…it…uh…it…hurts.”
Okay, I may have used a bit of literary license there but things sometimes get put off for various reasonable reasons, (some say excuses), but at least I know the order of importance of the things that I am putting off.
According to my dictionary
: pri-or-i-tize; verb/: to organize (things) so that the most important thing is done or dealt with first.
: to make (something) the most important thing in a group.
You see, there are different kinds of prioritization. My To-Do list is part of the first part of the definition--identifying the first thing that most needs to be done…and try to do it first.
Things like…say…government spending fall into the second category of the definition--identifying the most important needs of our rate-payers…and then waste the funding somewhere else.
Take health care for instance. I recently drove by the hospital that is being constructed in Kipling right now and I’m a bit confused by the structure. First off, I want to say that I am extremely happy that we are now getting this facility built in Kipling but if someone had had their priorities in order I thing we could have skipped the fancy schmancy roof lines and Star Trekky look for a plain-looking functional health care facility. Just saying.
Thankfully it hasn’t been too often but I have had the unfortunate experience of being in a hospital in a lot of pain and I couldn’t have given a red-rat’s derriere as to the roof line or the “architect’s signature” or how appealing the exterior plaza is as long as my ailment was being looked after. What we need is function over form and performance over aesthetics.
Then we’ve got the STARS Ambulance Lotteries and the Hospitals of Saskatchewan Lotteries and the Children’s Hospital Foundation Parade of Homes Lottery and bake sales and bingos and bottle-drives…to provide HEALTH CARE!! In the meantime CEO’s and managers and consultants and contractors are making zillions of dollars.
Yes, yes, yes…go ahead and roll out your overpaid government accountant to do their scritcha-scritcha number crunching and tell me that the tax dollars returned to the public coffers via taxation of the upper-level executives who also pour their money into investments which fund the companies that employ the multitudes…blah, blah, blah…Explain it away. Justify it as you must. I don’t care how many numbers you throw at me…my opinion will not waver. In my humble opinion…our priorities are very clearly…out of sync.
“It is not an arrogant government that chooses priorities; it is an irresponsible government that fails to choose.”-Tony Blair (1953-).