In order for something to be a priority, that thing by definition must be of elevated importance. If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority and life slowly begins to lose meaning. So, maybe life doesn’t lose meaning when we fail to prioritize but life certainly struggles to find any sense of order and we struggle throughout the day to gain traction towards our goals. If you are in the habit of planning out your day, prioritizing your tasks and being productive with you time than you know the struggle that often occurs when there are too many fires too put out. If the village (your plan) is burning, there is only one hose and a limited water supply – where do you start?
The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. - Stephen Covey
Those who prioritize live in reality. Success starts with planning, without a plan there is no target. There is an ever widening expanse between the plans we make and the completion of those goals, if we do not make changes to get ahold of the void it will grow daily. That gray area in between reaching our destiny and falling into the expanse requires adaptation through prioritization. The plan is the intentional process that flows from our vision and through execution we move towards our intended outcome. Project management must always allow for flexibility as emergencies arise, components do not always function perfectly and elements outside of our control impact our trajectory. Prioritization is an essential mechanism that keeps our efforts on course and prevents adaptation from spiraling out of control. There is more than one way to find yourself trapped in the void of failure.
As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest. - Jessica Jackley
Create a daily plan – be intentional about how you are going to move towards your goals
Execute your plan – allow for flexibility and be prepared to adapt to the obstacles life throws at you
Prioritize your plan – keep yourself on vision and hitting your targets by governing yourself
If you are not in the habit of creating a daily plan for yourself, you are running in a hamster wheel that you will never get out of. If you are in the habit of making a plan but you do not allow for flexibility, you are headed for a heart attack. If you are in the habit of planning and adapting but you do not prioritize, you have a better hamster wheel than most but the hamster wheel is running you.
If you have a vision, make a plan and are intentional about hitting your target then prioritization is the methodology that will enable you to make your time effective. If after planning, adaptation and prioritization you still cannot get ahead then you will need to make changes to how you approach your tasks, for example get help or say no to projects, or else your hamster wheel will soon detach and you will plunge into the abyss.
For an example of how this is put into practice with project management, see how one team does so by making their schedule visible (HERE - includes Video). What have been some of the key lessons you have learned about prioritization?
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Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer