You can’t do it all, and you certainly can’t do it all at once. Prioritizing is about asking what’s important and what’s more important now. Time changes what’s important. Values influence what’s important. One way to stay grounded in your priorities is to continuously ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?” This will help you stay focused on the outcomes that matter to you. You’ll find this will shift over time, but it’s a good way to remind yourself what you’re driving towards.
Consider the following guidelines to help you prioritize:
- Ask, “What’s the next best thing to do?”
- Hit windows of opportunity.
- Use MUST, SHOULD, and COULD.
- Worst things first.
Ask, “What’s the next best thing to do?”
Ask yourself, “What’s the next best thing to do?” This question cuts right to the chase and forces you to evaluate where to invest your time and energy. What was important before may not be important now, and this question helps you evaluate priorities. You’re basically checking yourself against what you want to accomplish and identifying the next best steps to get there.
Hit Windows of Opportunity
One of the worst patterns for people that miss out on results, is they do too little, too late. They underestimate the value of making a time window. When you hit your windows of opportunity, you amplify your impact and get more ROI for your effort. In order to make your windows of opportunity, you must prioritize. As you get used to doing things on time, it becomes a healthy habit for results.
Use MUST, SHOULD, and COULD
A simple way to prioritize is to think in terms of MUST, SHOULD, and COULD. It’s pretty easy for your brain to figure out what you MUST do. Make sure you don’t let SHOULDs and COULDs get in the in the way of your MUSTs.
Worst Things First
A good way to prioritize daily is to do your worst things first. By getting the thing you dread out of your way, you create a glide path for the rest of the day. You do your worst thing first when you have your most energy.