Have you ever had this situation: You’re looking at the list of things you want to accomplish this week and it feels like everything really should be done today. Everything is super important and can’t really wait until the end of the week. So, choosing what needs to be done today is frustrating, not to mention deciding what task you’re going to do next.
I had that experience this week. Between deadlines, emails, phone calls, meetings and other things I just wanted crossed off my list – it was extremely difficult to pick out what was really my highest priority.
I’ve heard other people say your highest priority tasks should be the things that will directly result in bringing in money or growing your business, but what about those items that won’t contribute to the bottom line now, but they’re a step in that direction?
Yeah, I was a bit frustrated.
So, this is what I did (and what you can do when you find yourself in a similar situation):
- Make a list of what you want to do this week (or even just today).
If you already have that list, great! Mine was the undone things on my weekly list that had a few items added to it over the course of a couple days. I decided to rewrite it with just what was undone.
- In the margin, draw two lines down the page.
My lines were about a centimeter apart. It doesn’t matter which margin it is, use whatever space is available on the paper.
- Label the one column Income and the other Deadline.
- Review your list for income generating tasks.
Place a check-mark in that column. Now, you might be thinking: But I don’t have anything on my list that will directly result in me making money today, so I won’t be checking anything in this column.
And if that were exactly what I meant by “income generating tasks”, then you’d be right. However, income generating tasks are also those tasks that might generate income later.
So, that networking event that you plan to go to – belongs in this category.
The phone calls you wanted to make to connect with people – yep, it counts.
Creating a freebie for your website – you guessed it, it counts!
Reading every email in your inbox – NOPE, that doesn’t count. It might be a nice distraction, but it can wait.
- Review your list for tasks that are part of a deadline that is in the 24 or 48 hours.
Yep, you guessed it – place a check-mark in that column.
- Estimate how long each task with a check-mark next to it will take.
And write it down next to the task!
- Decide your priorities.
Anything that has a check-mark in both categories should be done first.
And anything that doesn’t have a check-mark can wait a day or two (yes, I know you’d really like that item completed, but you’ve just identified it as not being a high priority).
Now, for the income versus deadline items, you’ll need to make a call on those. I took a look at when the deadline was and how long each item was going to take and decided to do the income generating items first.
- Start working on the highest priority task!
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that 10 minutes of planning will save me a couple hours of being frustrated. It also means I don’t work late into the evening, because I’ve decided what can wait until tomorrow or next week.
What do you do to decide your priorities when everything feels important? Share below!