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Priority management is a lifelong skill that most people would say they are always working on. Use this guide to coach yourself into developing better habits or use it as a tool with your employees to help them manage priorities.
Getting all your to-do lists out of your head so you can see them is the key to controlling your priorities. You also can’t prioritize what is most important unless you have established goals to work toward. You can get started on building a schedule and doing a brain dump without clear goals, but it will quickly become clear that you can only go so far. Here’s how to get started.
1. Do A Brain Dump
Start off with a blank page and do a brain dump. Get everything you want or need to do out of your head and onto the page. If you prefer a digital medium, you can type it out too, but there is a lot less potential distraction with paper and pen.
Pro tip: Most people can’t effectively brain dump in their normal work environment. Go somewhere out of your normal routine and plan to be unreachable for 60-90 minutes.
2. Categorize Your Tasks
Once you have done a brain dump, use the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize each thing you have on your paper. Spend the time to think about how important and how urgent each item is to your overall goals. Divide your paper into quadrants and classify the top left quadrant “A,” the top right quadrant “B,” the bottom left “C” and the bottom right “D,” and put A, B, C or D next to every task on your task list.
Pro tip: If you want to know more about the Eisenhower Matrix, you may want to read Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People (habit three, specifically).
3. Schedule Your Tasks
Use a scheduling tool (digital or paper) that will allow you to put all of your brain-dumped tasks into your calendar. A lot of people fail in the beginning because they overload their schedule the first time. If this is a brand new skill, build in “slush” time where you can work on A or B priorities without having to establish which ones on your brain dump list you are going to work on.
Pro tip: Try to eliminate things on your D list and try to delegate as much as possible of your C list, especially if something on your C list would be enjoyable for someone else to accomplish and give them a win.
4. Plan Time To Plan
You should have planning time as a weekly A-level priority in your schedule, but you’ll also need to consistently adjust your plan. In addition, set aside a 60- to 90-minute block of time monthly to refresh your brain dump list.
Pro tip: Try to make your planning time the same time every week. Build it into a habit around other things you do daily or weekly.
5. Fail, Review, Adjust, Repeat
You will screw up. Things won’t always go according to plan. You will spend a whole day working on C- and D-list items. When this happens, review why and how it happened. Did you overload yourself and burn out? Did something unexpected come up that threw off your whole week? It happens, and you need to be okay with that.
Pro tip: Many people fail at some point along the path and reject the whole idea of working on this skill. Give yourself some freedom to fail and jump right back on the horse.
As a core skill, you can get better at priority management, but the more you learn, the more you realize it is impossible to master. Becoming a student of managing priorities is valuable across every job, industry and environment. If you feel like you have a strong grasp of these skills, hopefully, you can use this guide to help coach someone around you through this process.
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“A Path For Focused Priority Management” | Written By: Chris Cyr, CommunityVoice / Forbes – Entrepreneurs
November 18, 2019 at 08:04AM
VIEW ARTICLE ON Forbes – Entrepreneurs >> https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2019/11/18/a-path-for-focused-priority-management/