5 simple steps to Positively becoming a Whiz at Prioritization

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey

Priorities, priorities, priorities!!! Are your priorities muddled up and making you dizzy? Lets positively simplify that…
Prioritization is a positive skill that often takes practice before you can truly master it. When you’ve got a long list of things that need to be done, figuring out which ones take precedence can be difficult to say the least!

I have been on the side where I literally didn’t know what to prioritize and how. As life has presented itself to me with all its ultimate glory, I’ve realized and devised a 5 step system that works positively for me. I’m sure it will work wonders for you too-

Here are 5 simple steps to Positively becoming a whiz at Prioritization:

1) Plan your day ahead of time.
It’s impossible to prioritize when you have no clear idea of what needs to be done. Get into the habit of making a detailed list of everything you want to get done each day. You can make your list the night before or first thing in the morning, but be sure to set a routine and stick to it so you don’t forget. On this list you’ll place the big activities and chores, but also the smaller tasks and obligations. Let your heart be your guide in making this list.

2) Pare down the list.
If you’re like most people, your list is probably several hundred miles long. It could probably even circle the globe at least once, right? However, if you look at the items on your list, probably a large chunk of them don’t have to be done immediately. Instead, focus on the main activities that really DO have to be done today (or tomorrow, depending on when you are making your list). Transfer all of the other non-essential items to another list. You can do them once you’ve completed the items on your main list.

3) Allot a specific period of time for each item on the list.
Look closely at each task and activity on your main list. How long do they usually take to complete? This will be a general estimate, since it can be difficult to say exactly – especially when interruptions and delays can throw your timeline off. Be sure to allow a few extra minutes for each task, just in case they take longer than you expect. If you end up finishing a task in less time, you’ve got that much more time that can be applied to other items.

4) Now, prioritize!
Which of the items on the list is MOST crucial to complete? One good way to figure this out is to consider the consequences of NOT doing each thing on the list. What would happen if you didn’t complete your work project on time or bring your child to a doctor appointment? Any item that would create negative consequences if not completed should be given very high priority. You can use a letter or numbering system to label each item on your list, if it helps. Use the number 1 or the letter A for very high priority items; then the number 2 or letter B would be for items that are important but not as crucial as the highest priority items.
I wish I could tell you to do the highest priority items first, and then work your way down the list, but unfortunately events won’t always comply with that type of structure. For example, you may have a high-priority item that can’t be completed until later in the day for whatever reason, so you’ll have no choice but to complete some other, less important activities in the meantime. That’s okay, but just be sure to keep checking your list and focusing on what needs to be done in the timeframe it needs to be done. More on this in the next step:

5) Review your list and stay focused.
If you are not accustomed to working in such an organized manner, you may find yourself forgetting to check your list throughout the day{like me 🙂 }, or you may even find yourself getting distracted and losing track of time. When this happens, simply redouble your efforts to get back on track. Keep your list in a prominent area(fridge magnet, work desk, car dashboard..) so you’ll see it frequently, and do your best to stick to the plan you’ve set for yourself.
If you manage to complete all of your most important items from the list, immediately switch to your other list of non-essential items! Even if you can only complete one or two of them, you’ll feel the glow of accomplishment from going the extra mile. woohoo!

Remember, this process will take time to fully master. Especially if you’re used to dealing with a lot of distraction and upheaval in your daily activities( again like me 🙂 ), it will seem like an impossible dream to get it all together and flowing smoothly. However, every day that you attempt to stick to your simple yet positive priority schedule you’ll find the process getting easier and easier. Before long you’ll have no problem automatically addressing the most crucial items first, and everything else will fall easily into place. Your heart will then guide you effortlessly.

For this week simply Get prioritizing! In the next article I’ll share with you, how you can enjoy and find happiness “in the process” of ‘doing’ each task on your positive priority list.

May our core happiness prevail always!

Now its YOUR turn to share your thoughts. How do you prioritize things or tasks in your life everyday? Do you have any awesome tips to share? Share your wisdom in the comments below. I’d love to learn from you 🙂

With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/Spiritual Counselor
Motivational Speaker/Naturopath

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8 thoughts on “5 simple steps to Positively becoming a Whiz at Prioritization

  1. So interesting to contemplate! I do #4 and #2 regularly, but I haven’t ever been good at #5 which is why I suppose my life has varied so much. Still, I have learned to be highly adaptive, and I have a better intuitive ability to change direction to reorient to doing good in the moment than I had as a youngster. My version of #1 is to compile a list of goals one day ahead that are too many (on purpose) to complete. Then when I awake, I review them over coffee and pare down. I’ve been an editor for so many years that just cutting away the extra branches feels great!

  2. Hi Zeenat:

    Your post comes at a good time for me as I’m juggling a lot of things, both personally and professionaly, right now. I have been writing my to do lists at the beginning of the day, but still get sidetracked quite a bit. I think that as more of us do more work from home, this separation between work and play is going to get more challenging. Oh, well we’ll keep trying and I’ll re-visit this and your next post. Thanks!

  3. Hi Z,

    My challenging is the routine of making the list and then actually looking at it. I’ve just started using Google Calendar for this purpose. It has a little to-do list on the side. Let’s see if it works. I was happy to have checked off most things from the list that I made a few days ago…but it took me a few days to look at it again and now I’ve added a few more.

    I like pare down. I’m very good at this. I’ve decided to have only a small number of high priority activities in my life and stick to them. I love the idea of focusing on just one goal for each day. I really need simplicity.

    Thanks for these super helpful tips. All my love to you.

  4. Pingback: Priorities | The MJ Journal

    1. Hi r.p.,
      Thank you for subscribing to Positive Provocations! Let me check my mailing list and see why you haven’t received your ebooks. I’ll send it to you within 24 hrs 🙂
      Much love~

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