You cannot eat every tadpole and frog in the pond, but you can eat the biggest and ugliest one, and that will be enough, at least for the time being.” ― Brian Tracy
Frogs or no frogs, lack of focus can interfere with figuring out your priorities.
Devote time to the activities that matter most to you by concentrating on your top concerns. These techniques will teach you how to prioritize like a pro.
Benefits of Establishing Priorities
1. Simplify decision making. Smart choices seem automatic when you can identify which tasks are urgent and where your efforts will have the most impact. You’ll act with focus instead of drifting from one dilemma to the next.
2. Accomplish more. Distinguish between doing more and achieving more. Know your purpose and allocate your resources accordingly. Prioritizing enables you to work more productively and divide your time more effectively.
3. Reduce stress. Imagine your peace of mind when you stop feeling like you have too little time and too much to do. Accept your stress limits and take satisfaction in doing your best. Your confidence will keep growing as you enjoy the results of your new sense of direction.
Techniques for How to Prioritize
4. Create daily rituals. Keep important commitments on the front burner by carving out a specific time for them each day. Designate the hour before bed for reading stories with your children or learning a foreign language.
5. Start off strong. Create momentum that will drive you forward all day long. Score a quick win when you go for a morning run or meditate while it’s still quiet.
6. Disconnect for a while. Limit the time you spend online, making calls, and watching TV. Rediscover face-to-face communications and the beauty of nature.
7. Take breaks. Downtime restores your ability to concentrate.
8. Organize your day. Plan your time with your priorities in mind. You’ll be less likely to become sidetracked by external pressures and distractions.
9. Shorten your to-do list. Weed out the nonessential items. Decide which tasks require excellence and which can be considered good enough if you complete them on time. For example, as long as your bed sheets are washed and dried, maybe you can skip ironing them.
10. Estimate value. If you tend to regard everything as being equally important, look closer. Think of your life as a business and ask yourself how profitable each activity is. Playing with your dog may make you happier than buying expensive items.
11. Use comparisons. Weighing one option against another clarifies their advantages and disadvantages. Going back to school or renovating an old house may both sound appealing, but you’ll have to figure out which one is more worthwhile. Then again, maybe you can tackle both if you figure out which to do first.
12. Ask for help. We all accomplish more working together. Practice delegating at the office and at home. Divide up complex projects so everyone can draw on their individual strengths.
13. Map it out. Drawing yourself a picture may help in situations where your priorities are still unclear. Maybe you’ll come away with a fresh perspective on how to invest your retirement savings or which yoga training course to take during the next year. Create a chart or sketch out a plan to help you prioritize.
14. Write it down. Whether you rely on modern technology or a paper journal, putting your priorities into writing will help you stay on track. You’ll be able to monitor your progress and spot any obstacles you need to overcome. It will also make you more accountable.
Direct your energy and attention to activities that align with your goals. Prioritization is a skill that will help you find more time for the things you love.
Enjoy a more meaningful life, starting today, by setting priorities.
Photo: Magdalena Roeseler