Learn how to prioritize for fun and profit!
Prioritization is challenging. I’ve struggled with it for years.
I have ADHD, so my prioritization struggles center on my desire to do all the things. Beyond that, I have many competing interests, my family, and a house that needs attention.
To continually improve my prioritization skills, I use the following methods.
First Things First
As Kenny Rodgers said, know when to fold ’em.
Avoid tasks outside of goals to increase focus.
Assess your environment, refocus energies, and absorb life changes. When your daily activities are fruitless, it’s time for a change.
In the book the 7 habits of highly effective people, Steven Covey defines quadrants to categorize priority. Using these quadrants helps you eliminate tasks.
Being proactive allows you to spend time in the PLAN quadrant and avoid frequenting the DO quadrant.
Pair the quadrants with Warren Buffet’s 5/25 rule for maximum effectiveness.
When prioritizing, try pausing and taking a breath. Pausing helps you make an intelligent decision.
Take action in the now.
Prioritization is difficult when you’re exhausted. Take a few days off to bring your priorities into better focus.
Regular meditation, exercise, and some low-effort days will clear your mind.
Letting work overwhelm you can cause turmoil. Putting yourself in a timeout helps you collect your thoughts.
Your confirmation bias gives you a false sense of security. If you prove yourself wrong, you learn how you are right. Performing a self-test helps validate your priorities.
Don’t Do It
A to-do list helps you prioritize your work. It can also cause anxiety.
Consider creating a Don’t Do It list to complement your to-do list. It helps you keep your to-do list clean.
Consider creating an ideas list. If there are things you want to do someday, send them to your ideas list. It clears your mind and reduces FOMO.
Move old to-do items to your ideas list.
Focus is difficult in the disinformation age.
It’s easier to focus when you know what’s next. Focus on improving your health, and prioritize tasks that increase your health. Stick with that focus, and unlock synergies while reducing choices.
Rituals & Habits
Habits are a prioritization cheat code.
Your habits define your daily outcomes.
A harmful habit of overusing social networking thwarts your health improvement efforts. Displace your bad habits with good habits and perform enjoyable rituals.
I love making work as efficient as possible; for example, listening to audiobooks while exercising. It sounds counter to fun, but it motivates me to find impactful combos.
Once prioritization is complete, you’ll need more work. It’s a crazy thought, but sometimes you’re looking for new work.
Is your environment in the way? Move optimization tasks to the top of the list; it’s a safe bet. A couple of great places to focus are bottlenecks and impediments.
What makes you happy? The most crucial prioritization technique is knowing your happy place. Hopefully, your family makes you happy; if it does, it’s easy to prioritize their happiness.
Do you love writing, swimming, driving, or dancing? Doing what you love will give you a rush of excitement.
Learn How To Prioritize - Beyond the Basics
- Productive Prioritization: Tools to Build Your System | Learn with Trello
- Prioritizing Tasks and Managing Time for Greater Productivity
- Prioritizing Your Tasks
- Prioritizing Effectively as a Leader
- Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
- 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: 30th Anniversary Edition
- Yet Another Productivity System
- The “Everything is Important” paradox: 9 practical methods for how to prioritize your work (and time)
- How to Prioritize Tasks in the Workplace
- Timeboxing: Elon Musk’s Time Management Method
- How to Prioritize Tasks Effectively: GET THINGS DONE ✔
- How to Prioritize Your Work When Your Manager Doesn’t
- Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina