May 22 2010

ESTABLISHING PRIORITIES

“First Things First!”

                             

     I never figured out why my father always shouted this statement, but I guess it was because he was always in a dither when it occurred to him. Most of us don’t think much about prioritizing until we’re feeling overwhelmed with no place to turn. It’s kind of a “force your hand” type of response. OMG, I’ve got 3 hours to do 27 hours worth of tasks and then the world ends. Right. I’d better prioritize. 

     Here’s the deal: Let’s work backwards at this. One of the life-goals most of us share (beyond not having any IRS surprises!) is to avoid last-minute panic situations and 11th hour rush jobs, right? And it doesn’t matter what business you’re in; that’s an unspoken priority for most of us who are not earning a living by participating in extreme sports. So, okay, the target here is to be –and stay– organized. 

     Establishing priorities means, first and foremost, that you have a busy agenda, or that maybe you’re too busy to even have had time to put together an agenda (which makes me suspect of why you’re even stopping to read this, but nice to see you all the same). Either way, implications are that what you really need to address as Step One is to do a Quick Risk Assessment.

     Nothing magical here. Simply list all the burdensome tasks on one piece of paper (or txtmsg2Urself) and then run through each item with a 1,2, or 3 ranking. It’s a 1 if you just stepped in something brown and gooshy on your way into a building for a big meeting. It’s a 2 if your shoelace broke. It’s a 3 if you just realized your socks don’t match. Determine the relative risks.

     What on your list absolutely positively cannot wait until tomorrow (or the end of the day, or next week, etc.)? Each of those items gets a 1 assigned to it. Let the rest fall by the wayside for the moment and focus 100% of your time and attention and energy on getting your number 1 issues resolved before even looking at the rest of the list to decide if the remainders are 2s or 3s (many will migrate up to a 1 ranking by the time you finish the immediate 1s).

     When a couple of someone else’s have both “assigned” tasks that are battling for THE number 1 position, go back to those someone else’s(bosses or customers or lawyers or spouses or whomever) and ask them to talk with each other to sort out what exactly you need to put next on your runway for takeoff because there’s only one of you to go around! Hand the responsibility for deciding back to the sources!

     Restaurants may be in the food-service business, but cleanliness has to always be Priority One or there may not BE a food-servicebusiness if food poisoning prevails. Maybe you’ve been focused on a date for printing materials for a client when the reason for the materials is more important . . . having finished documents ready to travel with for an out-of-county trade show, needs to dictate the prioritizing for print preparation schedules.

     The undercurrent throughout the prioritizing process is that you need to have a grip on time management (and never get into the position of not having enough time to do time management!) and — aha! —  Our old friend: stress management take some deep breaths!

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! God Bless America, and God Bless our troops “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

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