Trouble With Setting Up Your Priorities?

  • Prioritizing and making decision where to start

A decision where to start, which task should get the priority over millions of little jobs is always the tricky thing. For some people, the process of MAKING A DECISION is a real nightmare. They feel totally overwhelmed with plenty of stuff that needs to be done right now. Usually, they cannot figure out where to start. What is their way? Either they listen to the various voices in their head and follow the one which seems to be the loudest. Or they ask people around for advice and become a pain in the ass for their colleagues, friends, and family. Sometimes they flip a coin or look for the signs around them to proof their choice.

As human beings, we have a tendency to react to urgent things, not necessarily to the most important ones at the moment. The method I use when many things need to be done in a short time takes this aspect into consideration. I admire Steven Covey and his business logic. He has designed The Quadrant of Productivity using two dimensions – Importance and Urgency. The task that is both urgent and important get the priority pass first. All other tasks need to wait their turn. Second priority will go to the tasks that are Important but Not Urgent. They need to be carefully planned to make sure you have enough time for them. These could be activities like relationship building, planning, new opportunities, strategic alliances but also self-re-energizing i.e. holidays and recreation to boost your energy. Urgent but Not Important will get the 3rd priority. These are most emails and most phone conversations, many meetings, and some administrative works – invoices, contracts, offers, etc. For many people, these -3rd priority tasks become a top priority and the core of their business existence. In fact, this kind of things consume most of the office time and should be delegated when possible. The last group is formed by tasks that are Not Important and Not Urgent. Avoid them and try to dump as many as possible.

  • Heal your daily stress – make time

What if you are all Miss Organized at work but for some reason things are not so nicely set up in your everyday life? What if you struggle with your daily tasks and you really miss the time for yourself? We all need it, right? To read a good book, to meet friends, to have fun with our children, to go swimming. But for some reason, these potentially good experiences get lost in the daily race. The food for the cat and the new shoes for your daughter get the priority over chit chat and coffee with a friend.

I was dramatically stressed and frustrated trying to fulfill everything on my to-do list (the one on my mobile) in one go, ideally during one shopping day. For some reason, I thought: “Once I will do it, I will be free”. Nothing like that happens. I was never free. It was super overwhelming and made me very tired. The eye-opening day came when I realized that nobody but me is responsible for the tiredness and stress, so I decided to do something about it and introduce some improvements. I looked at my life and my to-do-lists with lots of love and with mindfulness.  I started carefully think about each task to be done by me in the context of urgency and necessity. I asked myself serious questions: “do you really need that thing, that service TODAY?  Do you need it AT ALL? What will happen if you do not buy/fix/organize it today?” And you know what? I was able to eliminate or to push back many things on my list. I realized how many things or actions are needed only in our head, not in real life. The world did not finish because I did not buy the cat food today. I bought it two days after as the cat still had some food at home, he did not have to starve. I created TIME!  I started to enjoy it and to give priority (importance) to the things that matter to ME i.e. different forms of people meetings – family, friends, colleagues and different forms of TIME FOR ME.