When it comes to a mindset for success, how we manage time is one of the most critical. Every day, we either keep a running to-do list in our head or have a written list of things we want to accomplish.
Human behavior is such that we usually gravitate to doing the easy things first. The difficult, time-consuming and deadline items usually don’t rise to the top of the list until it’s absolutely necessary (affectionately known as procrastination).
The mystique of getting things done
As we are able to cross things off the list during the day, there’s a real sense of satisfaction of completion. But, what we actually cross off are the easy and busy tasks. At the end of the day, it’s usually only a list of completed tasks not a list of completed priorities.
Doing the easy things first and the harder things later, it’s definitely not a habit that works for our business success.
What makes it a priority?
A priority is something important that requires attention or action (sooner rather than later) within a certain time period. The time period itself can vary. It may span from a daily schedule to a future completion date.
There may also be a list of priorities requiring attention. However, within a priority list, each priority will be further prioritized as to importance and urgency.
Also, one priority may suddenly become more important than others as a deadline approaches, its completion is necessary before the next step can be taken or it becomes a critical response to a crisis.
What priorities do
Priorities are also time management tools. They define what we are going to do with our daily allocation of time. A certain amount will be set aside for our personal life and personal priorities and the remaining time is what we allocate for business.
While there are many things we can be doing in our business, it’s the priorities which solve the problems and support future growth and prosperity.
The problem with setting priorities
The primary problem with setting priorities is that they are based on our own subjective valuation. It is we, with our own biases and preferences, that decide which to-do items are a priority and which have a greater priority than others.
There are several methods for deciding which priority deserves our utmost attention. And, it would be even better if someone else with objectivity could look at our business and tell us what we should be doing first.
However, if we want to be objective about our own subjective priorities we need to do some honest self evaluation. As we know, it’s so easy to focus on other things and avoid the difficult and challenging for as long as possible even if they are a business priority.
The four priority questions to ask
One way to be more objective in our business is to ask ourselves these recommended questions from www.e4healthinc.com.
Why am I doing this?
How does this relate to my goals and objectives
How urgent is this task?
Can anyone else do it?
Take a basic example that we all face. Each morning we start our business day with a choice of priorities- either checking emails or allocating a block of time to work on one of our business goals.
Well, we already know emails are the easy default, and we spend more time there than we care to admit. But, if we ask the questions as to their priority value, the answers pale by comparison to the priority of addressing a business goal first.
Therefore, if we want a mindset for success it requires allocating our time and energy to focusing on our business priorities. Then it’s time to celebrate everytime we cross another priority off the list!
What are the business priorities on your list that aren’t getting the attention they need?
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