How to Sort Out Your Priorities
Do you feel like your to-do list is never ending, increasing in size every time you manage to tick something off? Does everything feel like it’s the top priority, preventing you from even knowing where to start?
Failing to prioritise can have you feeling like you never have enough time for anything, drowning in overwhelm and ultimately getting nothing done!
In these hectic times, how can we ensure that we’re not just keeping busy, but actually working on our priorities?
Whether you’re looking to get a hold on your overall life priorities or specifically want to nail your work priorities for a smoother Monday morning, read on to find our most effective strategies for prioritisation.
The essential starting point for sorting out your priorities is to take stock of your current situation. Ask yourself how you’d like to live your life, what things are truly important to you and what achievements you’ll feel proud of in ten years’ time.
You should soon start to see a handful of truly important things rise to the surface, and will be able to see whether your current daily grind is really helping you fulfil these goals.
When defining your priorities, make sure not to confuse ‘important’ with ‘urgent’, as we all have a million urgent things to attend to that may not necessarily be rewarding or meaningful to us in the long run.
Think about your daily routine
How much of your daily routine actually aligns with the priorities you’ve identified above?
Track your daily activities and highlight all the tasks that are helping you meet your goals, and where you have room to do something more fruitful with your time.
For example, you might notice that while exercise is a priority for you, you often can’t find the time to do it in the morning because you’re rushing to get to work or spend too much time mindlessly scrolling on social media (it’s okay, we’re guilty of this too!)
By reflecting on your day, you can start to highlight ways you can carve out time for what truly matters to you.
Cut down on the clutter
A lot of the things that feel important to us are really just clutter distracting us from our main objectives.
For example, are you “busy” checking your emails multiple times a day to the point where it’s no longer productive or helpful?
This can actually be limited to just once or twice a day at set times, cutting out a lot of unnecessary stress and wasted time.
Other strategies like automating payments and meal prepping can also help to cut down on the clutter you have to deal with each and every day.
Suddenly, you’ll discover all these magical pockets of time to fill with your true priorities!
Utilise the Eisenhower matrix
A good way of sorting through your work or study priorities in particular is to distinguish between the important and the urgent, as we touched on above.
Former US President Dwight Eisenhower was once quoted as saying:
“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
These wise words led to the Eisenhower matrix being developed, with the quadrants being:
Urgent AND Important
Important but NOT urgent
Urgent but NOT important
NOT urgent OR important
You might find it helpful to draw up this matrix yourself and start slotting in the various tasks that are currently all vying for space on your to-do list.
This will give you a quick visual overview of the way you should prioritise your tasks, preventing you from wasting time on tasks that feel urgent but have little value or being caught by surprise by long-term, important tasks that have snuck up on you.
Schedule your priorities
By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of your true priorities.
You can now start to slot the important stuff into your schedule, such as prioritising your relationships, health, work, or a lovely balance of them all.
Remember that even if health is one of your priorities, for example, you may only have time for a half an hour gym session instead of an hour, or an at-home workout.
And guess what? That’s perfectly okay! Ease into your new priorities to create a truly sustainable routine.
We know what to-do list overwhelm feels like, but with some clever strategies and a bit of experimentation, you can soon sort out your priorities for more efficient workflow and fewer headaches!
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