It's About Time....Prioritization
Mastering priorities enables you to be the conductor of your day, rather than letting events be the master of you!
Why is it that some people seem to never miss a beat, apparently knowing exactly the right things to do, at exactly the right times? We often speak of these people as ‘having their priorities in order’, but what does that mean? And more importantly, what does that take?
Highly successful people have learned how to do this. They are less stressful when the unexpected happens because they know the impact of their choices. When it comes to their time and energy, they understand what they should be focusing on and what the results are if they decide to focus on something else.
Would it surprise you to know that prioritization, this amazing, powerful skill can be learned? If you want to be able to adapt to the unknown with ease, to know at the end of the day that the really, truly important things were the things you gave your focus, attention and energy to….then read on.
Essential to achieving this is having clearly defined goals, broken down into key achievements and targeted dates. You should also be clear about why achieving this is important to you and others in your life. Skipping these steps will result in less effective results, and a greater tendency to be distracted. Your actions will become reactions, and will likely be determined by the events of the day – not by you. If you are not sure about how to do this, drop me a line and I’ll give you some help.
Once you have your goals and key achievements in place, here are some tips to being a master at prioritization:
1. Look at the things you want to accomplish in for the week. These things should align with your goals and key achievements, intentions and purpose.
2. List the top 15 things if you are prioritizing a 5 day week, 21 if you are prioritizing a 7 day week. If you have more than this on your list, use the following method to define the top tasks:
Starting with the first two things, ask “Which is more important to me at this time?” If it seems like a tie, ask “If I had to choose one or the other, which would it be?”
Continue through your list, always comparing what has been identified as most important with the next item on the list.
When you have completed gone through the list, put a #1 by the most important, then start over with the remaining items on the list.
3. Put a plan in place. Once you have the top 15 or 21 items identified, put three down for each day of the week.
4. Make adjustments when needed. You now know the top three priorities for each day. Each day, see if something new has come up that needs to be added, and if necessary add one or two to your list.
5. Make sure your day priorities are achievable. Start with 3 – 5 key things you know you will accomplish each day. This allows you time to be open to the unknown and unexpected, and still achieve your goals. If it takes more than a day, find a way to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
6. Practice, practice, practice. Staying committed, maintaining focus and being able to discern between the important, urgent, interesting and incessant will assist you as you master prioritization.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:
• Second guessing your decisions.
• Confusing your desire for the task vs. your desire for the end goal or result.
• Being swayed by things that do not align with your desired goals, intentions and purpose.
• Not doing the priority exercise, insisting everything is equally important, or that you know by gut feel what is important.
Try this for yourself and see what changes for you, and let me know about your success!