Let’s talk priorities. Have you ever had a hard time figuring out what your priorities are? Or maybe you don’t set priorities at all?
I used to be really diligent about setting my priorities and making a “to do” list every day, and I even scheduled out particular times that I was going to do all of these activities. But to be completely transparent, in the last month or so, I haven’t been doing that and guess what I noticed? I’m getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished.
I’ve been trying to get 25 things done at one time, and I haven’t been doing any of them very successfully. To say I’ve been scatterbrained is an understatement! My schedule has been all over the place and mainly because I’ve allowed it to be. I haven’t taken control of my time.
Maybe you have experienced this before or maybe you are currently experiencing it as I am. Having a lot on your plate (self-imposed or not) is not a bad thing but it does require good organization and time management skills.
I came across this quote the other day, and it really resonated with me.
There is so much truth in this. Good things do happen when we get our priorities in order.
If we don’t decide what is most important for us, anything and everything can take a front seat in our lives. Things come up all the time and if we don’t have a solid plan of what’s “most important” in our life, it’s easy to let other things take the driver seat. When that happens to me, I find myself frustrated because I’m not accomplishing what I want and overwhelmed at the thought of all the things that still need to be accomplished.
So how can you overcome this and feel like you have control over everything when you have a lot of things to be done?
One of the best strategies is to create a list of activities broken down into 3 categories: Must Do, Should Do, and Nice to Do.
1. Must Do:
Things under this category are activities that are non-negotiable. They absolutely have to be done regardless of what else is going on. The thing about Must Dos is that they aren’t necessarily exciting or glamorous. Sometimes, they are just straight up boring or mundane. But it doesn’t matter, they have to be done. That being said, do everything under this list first. Once your Must Dos are completed, you can move on to the next category.
2. Should Do:
The Should Do category consists of things that probably need to be done but if you didn’t get to something on this list, it wouldn’t leave you in a crisis or feeling anxious about not crossing it off the list. You could manage not getting this entire list done and still feel like you had a successful day.
3. Nice to Do:
This category is fairly self-explanatory. These are thing that would be really cool to get to. You know, the icing on the cake. These will be different for everyone. My Nice to Dos might be things like catching an episode of a TV show or taking a 30 minute nap (I love naps). However, these things aren’t essential, and I normally will only get to these things, once the Must Dos and Should Dos are completed.
I personally like to put only 3-5 items under each of these lists (particularly the Must Dos and Should Dos), and I like to order each list by importance. With the most important activity being listed first. I complete my list from the top down so the most important activities are out of the way first. I also schedule time for these activities, preferably “block time.” Block time is just a chunk of time that you set aside to accomplish particular tasks completely uninterrupted.
You can make your list digitally or the old fashioned way; good old pen and paper. I’m old school when it comes to lists. There is something satisfying about crossing an item off of a list so I use paper. It makes me feel super accomplished….like I’m getting shit done (because I am).
One last thing about setting your priorities. Sometimes when you have a list of things you know must be completed, other things or opportunities come up. Things that aren’t necessarily important but you really want to do. That being said, I had to learn to let go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
It can be so tempting to blow your list because you get a text about happy hour or some amazing event that will probably be lots of fun. I had to learn to get my priorities out of the way first (#GSD…get shit done) and then if the opportunities are still available, I’m free to go (and to be honest, I’m still working on this).
However, when I follow this principle I feel better about going anyways. I have no guilt because I accomplished what I needed to. And if I miss out because I have other priorities, I have to be okay with that and be okay with saying no to things sometimes (even if they will be really fun).
So I’m following my own advice, getting on my priority setting game, and getting shit done! Put this to use, and I know you’ll find your productivity increasing.
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