The art of prioritization is the ability to put opportunities and tasks in order of their highest value. In a nutshell it’s organizing the mess. I do believe that it is an art, because one size doesn’t fit all. Over the years I came to believe that I could include every opportunity and request that was made to me. That belief lead to missed opportunities as well as a feeling of frustration and inadequacy in myself. When I adopted the art of prioritization I was able to get more accomplished in less time.
Embracing the art of prioritization is critically important because we just have too many opportunities and tasks to accomplish in the time we have available. It’s impossible to organize clutter and clutter leads to overwhelming confusion. If left unchecked it can lead to what I call the “it’s not worth it factor” and we give up.
I would like to share with you the three step process that I designed that has allowed me to incorporate the art of prioritization in my business and life.
First, decide on your desired specific results that you want from your investment of time and energy and money. Stephen Covey’s concept- start with the end in mind- is critical. This first step is determining whether or not the opportunity or task should be added into our schedules. I created a question that allows me to quickly see if this opportunity or task fits. The question is: “Does this opportunity or task take me towards or away from my ultimate vision?”
Second, is the time, energy and money equation.
Time– because I want to invest time, not spend it. I need to know what the potential return on my investment of time could be. Is the task or opportunity high or low value to me personally or to my business? If I can take on this task or opportunity, is there a possibility of delegating it?
Energy– we all have limits to our energy and I found if I honor those limits I’m actually able to get more accomplished. If we don’t protect our down time we will take longer to do a task and it may not be as high caliber as we would like. The law of diminishing returns is real.
Money – many times a task or opportunity comes with a financial component. I want to again invest money and not spend it, so while there are no guarantees I look at the potential return on the investment of those dollars. The old adage “you have to spend money to make money” is true to a point. Over my business coaching career I’ve seen way too many people throw money at whatever looks like a solution without taking the time to access the potential return on those dollars.
Third– now, later, never.
This is really a question about fitting. It could still be a high value task or opportunity but the timing is off. If it is off it falls into the category of a later or never. It really doesn’t matter which it is because what is important is we know that it is not a now.
So, this is how you can apply the three step process:
- Decide on your desired specific results.
- Separate your opportunities and tasks into these categories: business, personal (family), financial, physical, spiritual and mental.
- Underneath each category list all of the opportunities and tasks that are available to you right now.
- Decide if each opportunity or task takes you towards or away from your ultimate vision.
- Put each opportunity or task through the three steps.
- Launch and adjust.
My hope is that you will embrace the art of prioritization to increase your effectiveness and efficiency which will give you bigger results as it did for me.