Prioritizing your to-do list is on your to-do list – but how do you prioritize, anyway?
Prioritization is generally defined as: putting things in order of importance – but importance itself is a subjective term. Things can be characterized as “important” for different reasons, and we often need to consider both the reason why something is important as well as who it is important to in order to ensure we’re prioritizing effectively.
When we get ahead of our priorities, we can create greater peace of mind. That is why the following 5 scenarios can help you sort and streamline your priority list:
There’s a deadline. When there is a hard date by which something needs to be completed, it’s imperative to address those items in a timely fashion. Start by working backwards from that date, identifying and breaking down a larger task into sub-tasks, and securing any supplies you might need to ensure it can be completed in time. Put items with deadlines at the top of your priority list, calendar reminders – and avoid waiting until the last minute to get started.
It’s for yourself. While we all want to keep our spouses, bosses, and pets happy, prioritizing items that are important to our individual success and/or well-being should get bumped up on the list, and completed as quickly as possible. Self care is an act of love, in that when our needs are met, we have more to give to our family/job/hobby.
It’s for someone else. Once we’re up to speed on important things we need to do for ourselves, it’s appropriate to consider the needs of others. This can be something that we complete on behalf of a boss, colleague, or a family member – whether it’s required or in the spirit of generosity.
It’s being procrastinated. Some things sit on our list so long, we started ignoring it. Things we procrastinate are typically things we don’t want to approach either because they’re unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or don’t seem fun. However, these are the exact things that are eligible for an upgrade on the to-do list. Pair these items with a treat or go to your happy place to get started This will help trick your mind into thinking it’s something you like – and you’ll feel relieved when it’s finally checked off the list.
It’s easy. When we prioritize things that are easy and effortless, they get done quickly. And one less thing is one less thing!