13 Ways To Prioritize Your Life
I’m going to hit you with a cold hard fact that I had to learn the hard way: YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO GET CAUGHT UP.
There will never be enough time to complete everything you would like to complete. Unless you are in the position to hire a personal assistant, housekeeper, nanny and gardener you will continue to be swamped with work and personal responsibilities.
Things will not change. Trust me on this. As a working mom who volunteers on multiple committees in the community (Frederick Speaker Series, American Advertising Federation of Greater Frederick and Women’s Giving Circle) I’ve come to accept the fact that getting caught up is a vicious lie that someone somewhere invented to keep me feeling guilty.
Recently I have found a secret weapon. This weapon, in the form a book, has completely reshaped the way that I work my life and career. It is called Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy. Topics range from determining your priorities to delegating and eliminating tasks as well as the 80/20 rule and ultimately how to “eat your frog.” (Eww… I know. Just stay with me here.)
13 Ways To Prioritize Your Life
- Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Take a moment to plan your day in advance. For every minute you spend planning you can save 5-10 minutes in execution.
- Apply the “80/20 Rule” to everything: This was a huge revelation to me. Did you know that 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results? To move forward, always concentrate efforts on those top 20% activities and resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
- Focus on key result areas: Identify and determine the results that you absolutely have to get done to perform well and work on them all day long. Sounds simple when you put it that way, doesn’t it?
- Obey the Law of Forced Efficiency: “There is never enough time for everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” What are your highest value activities?
- Do your homework: Learn what you need to learn so that you can do your work in an excellent fashion. A major reason we delay and procrastinate is due to our own feelings of inadequacy or lack of confidence in our tasks. (I can so relate to this!)
- Leverage your special talents: There are certain things that you can do or learn to do that will make you extraordinarily valuable to both yourself and to others. Identify your areas of uniqueness and commit to becoming excellent in those areas. What are you really good at?
- Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks (internally and/or externally) that set the speed at which your are able achieve your most important goals and focus on alleviating them. (BTW – Only 20% are external. Most are internal. Ouch.)
- Take it one oil barrel at a time: You can accomplish large and complicated jobs if you just complete them one step at a time. Get your mind off the huge tasks in front of you and focus on a single action that you can take to make a difference.
- Put the pressure on yourself: Imagine that you have to leave town for a month. Work as if you had to get all your major tasks completed before you left. “Only about 2% of people can work entirely without supervision. We call these people leaders.”
- Maximize your personal powers: Identify the periods in which your mental and physical energy are at their highest. Structure your most important things to do around those times.
- Do the most difficult task first: This is where you EAT THE FROG. Conquer the most difficult task first and resolve to stay at it until it is complete. Do this and you’ll become one of the most productive people of your generation. (Woo hoo!)
- Create large chunks of time: Organize your days around large blocks of time where you can concentrate.
- Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your key tasks and you will become an action oriented person.
I know, right?
These 13 principals are my secret weapon in successfully navigating ALL THE THINGS. (And then some.)
My entire life shifted when I realized and chose to lead it with a sense and backdrop of urgency.
I wish I would have figured some of this out sooner, don’t you?
Great tips. I make a “to do” list everyday. I’m so happy when I can cross things off my list.
So do I! Also, if I don’t have something on my list and I complete it… I totally add it to the list just so I can cross it off. Hahahaha!
That was a post I needed to read. Thanks for outlining the great tips in your post. They will hold me over until I get around to reading what sounds like a very helpful book! I like number 13 too! I need to do that more.
Thank you! I discovered this a few years ago and it really has made a difference in my life. 🙂
Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com
Hi Jennifer! All 13 of your principals are good but I think THE MOST IMPORTANT is remembering that you will never, ever going to get all caught up. Oh, and the next one would be you will never get it perfect either! If you keep those in mind all the rest of your principals flow perfectly! Thanks for the reminders! ~Kathy
Indeed! And yes – never getting it perfect should be on this list. I think people forget sometimes that they are human and to be gentle and forgiving to themselves. (At least I do!)
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