5 Simply Positive steps to becoming a whiz at Prioritization

5 Simply Positive steps to 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…today! 🙂
Prioritization is a positive skill that often takes practice before you can truly master it (I’m still working on 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 simply Positive steps to 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 time to breathe and 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! 

May your 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 🙂

Thank you SO much for your presence here! If this article touched your heart, please share it on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach more people who need a positive healing nudge in their lives. I appreciate you! And, If you’re new, please subscribe for free updates by email.  Love always, ~Zeenat~

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28 thoughts on “5 Simply Positive steps to becoming a whiz at Prioritization

  1. K J Reddy

    I make TO-DO list regularly as a routine. Keep adding with time. As and when a task is attempted will tick mark it. when it is completed strike it off. What ever is left un done, will reentered in a fresh list. No confusion in working. As and when it comes to mind will note it in a note pad or in reminders. Better way for absentminded persons like me.

    1. Hi K!
      My God you are very organised for sure. I can’t believe you are absent minded…with that sort of organisation, no way! But you are right, when we do know our limitations we need to find ways to work around them and not let them debilitate us.
      Your routine is just great! Keep it up.
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      ❤ Z~

  2. kelleygrimes

    I love your clarity and practical steps Zeenat! The Stephen Covey quote is so accurate, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Thank you for this empowering article.

  3. I have tried this and somehow my creative, mind has a challenge with this- i know when I do follow the plan I get so much more done and there is less procrastination. Yes yo scheduling proirities- from the heart xxoo

    1. Hi Suzie,
      I know what you mean! I usually run the other way from hardcore organisation. I usually go with my gut feeling and allow my heart to guide me…but the distracted me takes over many a times, so this way was imperative for me to get things done. Working so far 🙂
      From the heart always.
      ❤ Z~

  4. Zeenat, Love your post and have been a long time fan of Stephen Covey. I’m a big planner, just not of my day but my week, months and year. Every beginning of January, my husband and I plan our vacation and fun times first (priorities), family time and then work commitments.
    Where I struggle the most is putting time limits to my day-to-day tasks. I tend to get lost in the work once I start OR easily get distracted.
    Thanks for sharing these great tips. I’ll revisit them to see where I can improve on my process.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful system but I am so right-brained that I lose my lists! Actually, I’ve done well with “making space” (also known as “scheduling”) for big, creative projects and picking up smaller, more concrete items using a list once or twice a month.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      I think we all are so different from each other, that we all develop our own systems that work for us. The point is that we find something that works….and I do love your “making space” system too. I use it on days when life gets in the way and all lists can go for a total whack 🙂
      ❤ Z~

  6. Thank you, dear Zeenat, for helping me focus more on prioritizing what needs to get done. I think I prioritize ‘triage-style’ – lol. As a mother, teacher and entrepreneur, I think I naturally just eliminate things that don’t serve because who has the strength to do it all? Definitely not me! Now, to get more conscious and focussed about it, with your very helpful suggestions.

  7. Scheduling one’s priorities is indeed a useful tip as against the conventional protocol of making ‘To do’ lists and being overwhelmed by the bulging list to the point of action paralysis. Thanks Zeenat for showing the way to greater efficiency.

  8. Haani

    Mom… This is soo helpful😊 and you make everyone happy with this…. Write more and make people more happy. I love you. 😙:-D

  9. Good morning, from St. Pete, FL, Zeenat!
    I used this quote in a course that I taught last week about values: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey” We’re synchronicity sisters again it seems.
    I’m appreciating this suggestion, “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. ”
    Thank you!
    Namaste~ Lore

  10. This is very helpful, Zeenat. I’m always on the lookout for ways to be more efficient. The idea of considering the consequences of NOT doing each thing on the list is a good one. This is an excellent way to approach the never-ending To Do list. I like the Stephen Covey quote as well.

  11. I’ve been a productivity geek for years and have tried so many techniques. Your simple list is what I’ve boiled all those practices down to. I never have more than 3 important things on my list each day. I keep my desk clear except for the one piece of paper that I’ve printed my weekly list on with specifics for each day. All of your ideas are very powerful in helping to get the important things done.

  12. evelynlimcoach

    Prioritisation is certainly top on my list everyday. The things to do are endless and it helps to be focused on what are the ones that are truly the most important and impactful.

  13. This has been a challenge for me Zeenat…so it’s good to see advice I can probably follow! I tend to think I can do much more than I often can…and put unnecessary pressure on myself as a result. So lately I’ve been telling myself if I get 2 things done that’ll be good. And once they’re done, then I choose another couple of things to complete, from my list.

    It does feel a whole lot better and now I can add a few more ideas from your article…so thank you my lovely. 🙂 Perfect timing.

  14. Nicely written Zeenat.

    The operative words and takeaways for my fridge door 🙂 are:

    Plan … as in plan ahead
    Habits … as in good habits
    Routines … as in daily routines
    Make Lists … as in write it down
    Focus … as on the essentials
    Prioritize … as in immediate/important
    Schedule it … to keep it from not getting done
    Review … to keep yourself on track
    Stay Focused … to complete your list
    Stick-to-itiveness … for continuous daily progress

    Now to actually do it consistently, that is the challenge, hahaha …


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