Prioritizing & Staying Productive | From Jess Lively
this post from Jess Lively originally appeared on JessLively.com on July 23, 2013 and is being re-shared on Little City Adventures with permission from Jess Lively. You can find more at JessLively.com or at @JessCLively.
Earlier today, I shared why it is important to focus our time on the important but non-urgent tasks in our lives based off of Habit 3 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Now, I’d like to share how to do just that.
LIST YOUR LIFE ROLES
Each Sunday or Monday, I write a list of the roles in my life. Currently, I have personal, wife/pup mom, consultant, designer, friend, and blogger all listed as my present roles.
These roles can change as needed each week. The main point is to think about each major area of our lives. If we have several roles in our careers, we are welcome to sub-divide a few times, if needed.
IDENTIFY PRIORITIES, BY ROLE
Then, next to each role, I list out the main priorities that I have for that role in order to move ahead with important/urgent and important/non-urgent tasks. The main lesson here is to really think about those things which fall in the important/non-urgent category.
Exercise, for example, is one such item. It is rarely “urgent,” but if ignored for long periods of time, could negatively affect our health or wellbeing. We might also eventually have important/urgent issues result like heart attacks, anxiety, or excess weight gain.
This week, I listed private victory as a priority for my personal life since it is important, but not urgent. I also listed buying grilling foods under friends, which is important and urgent for a game night we are hosting tonight.
One of my favorite outcomes of this practice is that the attention placed on weekly personal and life priorities, not just business.
Once the priorities are listed for each role, it is time to pull out a calendar and to-do list. I personally like using Google Calendar and Teux-Deux since they both sync on my phone and laptop automatically. But you could use any apps or paper products you like. There is even an app called Week Plan inspired by this practice from The Seven Habits that you might want to check out.
Time sensitive priorities, like buying grilling supplies for our party tonight, can be scheduled directly onto a calendar at an appropriate time. And non-time sensitive priorities, like making a Morning Club calendar, can go on a to-do list for a specific day of the week.
By first listing out the main priorities for the week and then adding them to the schedule and task list by day, we effectively make time for priorities that otherwise may get bumped to the next week, or forgotten altogether.
This practice does not try to replace a daily task list, but it works to incorporate and prioritize those things which are truly most important in our lives first.
I highly recommend trying this system out for one week.
If you find that it helps you to stay focused on what matters, then it will be all the encouragement needed to continue the practice. (And hey, a cute notepad can help sweeten the practice.)