How To Prioritise: 3 Important Things to Remember & Not Overlook!  

Have you looked at your tasks or to do list and had that sudden wave of panic surge through your body? That “this is too much” feeling which fogs your thinking and might even make you procrastinate (a classic example of “I don’t even know where to start” so I might as well make a cup of tea, have a biscuit and hope it all goes away).  

But procrastination doesn’t ever pay off, and action is the way forward. You know that. The trouble is, perhaps you know you have to take action… but what comes first?  

This is the kind of thing my clients often ask me to help with because it can be hard in the busy world of being an adult and juggling so much, to be able to see the wood for the trees. If this is you, let me help you.   

Learning to prioritise is one of those important skills that enhances our quality of life (life by design) but is never formally taught. Bit ridiculous if you ask me because your ability to prioritise (or not!) is going to determine important factors like how well you manage your time, the level of success you can reach with each goal and how overwhelmed you feel! Pretty important stuff.  

Here’s a quick 101 in how to prioritise by sharing with you THREE important things to consider. 

THREE IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER

Tip One: Don’t do what’s urgent  

Tip Two: It’s not always the task with the earliest deadline that you should do first  

Tip three: Prioritise what is taking up head space!  

Tip One: Don’t Do What’s Urgent  

That’s right! One of my clients asked me to help them prioritise what they needed to focus on in their business, because everything was urgent and screaming at them! I had to drop a truth bomb that I knew might be hard to swallow but I also knew that once they learnt this, it would take them a step forward in their ability to prioritise. Let me share this with you…  

If something is urgent then you have left it too late to deal with.  

Ouch.  

True though right! Think about it. Had you done it earlier (rather than push it back or procrastinate), then it wouldn’t currently be screaming at you as an urgent matter. This relates to Covey’s ‘Urgent Vs Important matrix’ and the four quadrants depicting URGENT vs IMPORTANT which is featured in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The concept is that most people are in ‘firefighting’ mode, doing things that are URGENT AND IMPORTANT but in fact we need to be focusing most of our time and efforts in things that are IMPORTANT but not urgent. Leave the urgent stuff for the real urgent stuff.  

Too often we leave things to the last minute, so it becomes urgent rather than it really being an emergency or unexpected thing to deal with. Start focusing the majority of what you do on the IMPORTANT stuff, dealt with in a timely manner so it doesn’t become urgent. This also means when something really does become urgent (like last minute changes, things going wrong, medical appointments or cancellations etc), then we have the right capacity and energy to deal with it.  

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach London Consultation Max Lenz Stuggart Your life good as your mindset

Covey’s ‘Urgent Vs Important matrix’

Tip Two: It’s not always the task with the earliest deadline that you should do first  

A friend once asked me how I prioritise my work and asked if I just did things depending on the order of the deadline. She asked, do I see what deadlines are coming up first, and tackle my to do list one by one in a linear fashion, starting with the earlier deadline and working through to the later one? 

Whilst this on the surface seems to make logical sense, it doesn’t work and so if you are currently doing this, then change it! 

Why doesn’t this work?  

Because it doesn’t take into account things like whether there are ‘moving pieces’ to this task or a reliance on other people, or how much of your head space or energy it is taking up.  

For example, I might not have a deadline coming up for another three weeks (let’s say I’ve been asked to give a talk to a company). Whilst it might feel like it’s ages away and therefore not a priority to do today, in fact, it is something to tackle. I might need to get the slides to the company a few days before, I will want to do a couple of practice runs and I need to get my team to build a slide deck. 

You get the picture. This means that, whist this project has a deadline that is in three weeks away, it is still one I need to start taking action on NOW!  

“Go ahead, make mistakes. The worst that can happen is you become memorable.”

– Sara Blakely : Founder and CEO of SPANX

Tip three: Prioritise what is taking up head space!  

One of my clients came to have coaching with me and knew exactly what her goals where and even outlined the things she wanted to achieve in each goal, as well as potential actions. I know right, how organised!  

Her priority goal was one that concerned her parents and looking after them. Because this is such an important aspect in her life, one that takes a lot of her time and is in her top three priorities, it led her to think that this was the one we should tackle first.  

But instead, we started work on another goal that didn’t seem as “urgent” or important. Why? Because this was taking up a huge amount of head space for her!  

One thing we have to consider when prioritising is the ‘capacity test’- aka how much head space is this taking. 

It might only be small, it might not even be that significant, but if it is occupying room in your mind then maybe you need to deal with it ASAP! I always talk about time as energy and this is a great example of this. This might not be a priority in terms of time (eg the deadline is ages away), but if it is taking huge amounts of energy up then it’s going to be wise to tackle it sooner rather than later.  

This might be a new approach for you in terms of your prioritising so I would love to know if you are going to be changing the way you approach things and the way you prioritise!

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Do You Need More Support on This?

Learning to prioritise is one of those important skills that enhances our quality of life (life by design) but is never formally taught.

As a life coach, I can support you, your organisation, or team with a number of topics including delegation, time management and productivity

Other topics I specialise in include:

  • How to create a growth mindset for success
  • Overcoming perfectionism
  • Goal setting and achieving your goals
  • Coaching skills (for you and your team)  

If you’re looking for a coach that is down-to-earth, supportive, and knows when to challenge and push you to help you be your best, then let’s chat.

Click the link below or feel free to drop an email to alice@alicedartnell.com.

What My Clients Are Saying

“I initially signed up with Alice to help me with my time management and productivity in my business and everyday life. Alice is a fantastic coach. She is supportive, kind. I love her honest, no bullshit approach. Since working with Alice I have discovered so many new ways of doing things. She has helped me uncover the root of some of my habitual tendencies and transform them. The amount of care and support she offers is priceless. I highly recommend working with her.”

Oonagh English DipNT mNTOI – Life Coach and Nutritional Therapist

“The time management course has been a total eye opener for me – I have learned so much, implementing ideas and strategies I just never thought I had time to do! Just goes to show – if you have support by the right people in your life you can achieve anything! ”

Jacqui C – Oxfordshire, England

Join the “Own your Day” Time Management Course.

Also, if you would like more support on your time management, I would love to invite you to take a place on the “Own your Day” time management course.  

Own Your Day is more than just a time management course… it’s a lifestyle change. One that will help you actually find time in your day (yep, it’s possible!) and finish each day feeling like you’ve actually achieved what you wanted! When you understand how to use time properly, then you can create the life you want as well as achieve your goals.  

This will show you how to achieve your goals with balance, control and empowerment. 

 This course has been created for you based on my own personal experience of letting go of my perfectionism and control-freak nature to living a life by design, the transformations my 121 clients have had through working with me and supporting hundreds of people with improving their time management!   

To find out more about the course, check out the info here or email alice@alicedartnell.com  

Further Reading

Poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can hold you up and seriously impacts upon your time management & productivity. Make sure that you include your health in your Circle of Influence. Read my blog Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity,to find out why and what steps you can take to increase your focus, concentration and productivity.

Failure is actually beneficial and an essential part of self-development. Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress”. Read  my article 5 Tips How to Bounce Back From Failure ASAP, to understand how to bounce back when you think that you have failed.

Self-Sabotaging. Are you a secret self-sabotager? Me too! Read my blog article 3 tips on how to stop self-sabotaging for my essential hard-learned top tips for how to stop self-sabotaging today.

Habits are what gets you success and my blog 4 Insanely easy ways to create good habits explains four insanely easy ways to start creating good habits.

Work towards you goals in easy bit by bit using the compound-effect of the  Law of the Slight Edge. In a nutshell, the Slight Edge is the law that everything adds up bit by bit. The actions we take will move us either towards our goals or away from them.  Learn more about the Law of the Slight Edge in my ground-breaking article 5 Essential tips to achieve your goals in 2020.

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📚 Take inspired action from reading personal development books (not just reading them for the sake of it)

📚 Accountability with others to prevent procrastination

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📚 Be confident in their worth as all books are vetted

📚 Empowering and support with a like-minded, driven, inspiring community

Are you ready for a life-changing monthly meeting, support and community that will inspire you, challenge you and grow you, all through reading and sharing ideas?

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Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation London How To Work From Home green blue book kindle cover

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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com

Copyright 2021 Alice Dartnell Limited

 

Disclaimer 

This blog is published  by Alice Dartnell Limited solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.