10 Way to Prioritise the Priorities
Dec 09, 2020
I was asked in GoalMaster recently about how to prioritise the priorities and it's a great question. I woke up this morning thinking about it and decided to share my top 10 ways to achieve this.
There isn't an instant shortcut, much as that would be welcome.
- If you want the simple answer, take points 1 to 3 and ignore the rest for now.
- If you are ready to try and really hone in what works for you, have a read through them all.
The ideas on how to do this come from multiple different angles.
Because each of us are different.
Each of our lists are different.
Each of our goals are different.
This means that what works for one person will not exactly work for the next. This is the immense power of individual strategy at its best.
Ultimately, you will have to exercise your own judgement on what will work for you.
Let's remind ourselves about one key thing before we get to Quadrant 2.
Quadrant 1 items generally need to be dealt with in the short term (hours and days) vs. Quadrant 2 items that can extend from days to months or even a year plus.
Now, see what stands out to you from this list:
- Order the list in order of their priority. This could be by readiness, interest, importance, first deadline, income generation etc.
- Break them into months (eg. this month, next month, and then everything after all that. Don't try and plan it out too far in advance right now, focus on where you are and next steps). Try to have just the right amount of challenge so that you are pushing yourself just a little, but not too far, to move forward with your goals ie. don't expect to get 10 big goals done in a week. Setting yourself up for disappointment is not good for anyone! Take the future ones out of your matrix for future months (keep them handy though) and just focus on this month for your current matrix list.
- Is there something that you have a total passion for on the list? Are you just dying to work on it and it will inspire you to work on everything else? Put that on the top list.
- Be realistic: Don't torture yourself by looking at a years' worth of work list all year. Per above, take it in chunks that make sense. Succeed, take a break and then go back and choose the next one to work on. Don't be working 70 hour weeks trying to get a list that realistically will take 3 months to do and it's absolutely fine for it to take 3 months to do. Instead, plan out the 3 months and work towards actually having it done by then. Have a reward planned for the end of the 3 months eg. a weekend away to celebrate. That will keep you focused :)
- Manage your own expectations: Remember you are only human. Running a business is usually a marathon not a sprint. Yes there is a list to work on but keep chipping away at things over a longer period and you will get there. You don't have to work 70 hours a week over a month to do it. Deadlines for business owners are largely self-imposed. Check your expectations. You might find that they can be relaxed a bit and by doing that you will enjoy the work more and you will have time for the other important things in life too. Anything with a more urgent deadline will be in Quadrant 1 and will already be prioritised.
- Sense check 'ideas': The brain dump list works on two levels. The first is to clear your head, to get everything out so that your brain power is focused in the present on the present task vs. trying to remember or wrestle with everything else. The second is to put future development ideas onto paper so that you can start to schedule to achieve them and reach your goals.
But this can be a double edged sword. Just because you have an idea, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it. Let that sink in.
Are you saying that you 'should' do something or it sounds cool or everyone else does it, but in fact it doesn’t contribute to your goal? What are essentials with the greatest impact? What are 'nice to haves'? Sense check your list. Put any non-runner ideas (for now) into a doc somewhere and keep track of them for another time.
- Finish off loose ends: The ideal situation is where you finish what you start. If your Q2 has a whole load of stuff you've started but not finished, try go at that first and get them off the list. Then you can start fresh with no baggage on the new items.
- Your 'Time Standing Order': Put aside non-negotiable time in your weekly schedule to work on this list. You may gather more time during the week, but just like saving money, make sure that you guarantee at least eg. 1 hour a week to work on your business. You have the time, now you just have to make the decision to do it. Boundaries again...
- Be ruthlessly decisive: Make the decision to work on something and then focus 100% on it - single-task it - in that hour or whatever you have. Make it count. Then take a break to balance yourself. Say to yourself 'This is getting done today. I will make it happen today and I will feel great'. There are always going to be competing priorities. Your decision has to be made on urgency and importance as it relates to your goals and your inner self-talk needs to be managed around this. YOU have the choice what you act on, you just have to change your mind.
- Last but not least, consider how you are feeling. If you are at 100% you might feel able to tackle 5 x Q2 items this month and that is great. You might be having a lighter week for client work or some other reason. Great. But it is more likely that you are at less than 100% which is TOTALLY fine. Life happens and we just need to be aware of where we are at and adjust accordingly.
Take more time in your week to recharge and focus on 1-2 of the Q2 items that are on your mind this week or month. The rest will wait if they are not urgent. Your health and mindset are incredible important and your ability to move forward increases exponentially when you take care of and apply yourself.
High quality and impactful tasks do not automatically have to take hours. High quality can be done in minutes. The important thing is to do them.
I hope that this is useful to you and welcome any thoughts or feedback,