The Strategist

How to get your priorities right


01/17/2020 - 09:52



Each of us at least once had a lot of tasks and too little time to do them all. Choosing what is really important is not as easy as it may seem.



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Morning clarity

The main thing to remember: if everything is a priority, it means that priority is nothing. Repeat this phrase before your day starts. Such a mantra will allow breaking through the many-voiced informational “noise” to what is really paramount.

The best time for active mental activity is morning, because the prefrontal cortex, the executive mechanism of our brain, discharges by the end of the day and recharges during a night's sleep. That is why it is better to perform complex mental work and prioritization in the morning, when the brain is still fresh, without wasting this valuable time on electronic correspondence and online conferences.

Stop that

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, suggests creating a “list of what needs to be stopped.” This idea was born in response to a question posed by one of his mentors: to think about what he would do after two radically life-changing calls. During the first, he would be notified that he had inherited $ 20 million without any obligation. And during the second he would have been informed that in connection with a rare and incurable disease he had only 10 years left to live.

The mentor asked Collins: “What would you start doing differently, in particular, what would you stop doing?” Since then, says Collins, he prepares a “stop doing” list every year.

It is naive to pretend that we can find the time for everything by setting up a multi-tasking mode of work or starting to work more efficiently. Taking a closer look, you will find that there are not many spaces in the schedule. An hour spent in one class is an hour not spent in others. So if you decide to spend more time with your children, or go to college, or train more, then in parallel you should see a decision about what you are going to stop doing.

The rule of seven sighs

Samurai made decisions over seven breaths. If the samurai was not able to make a decision during this time, he switched to something else, since this meant that he was either not ready for the solution, or there were no suitable circumstances.

When determining your priority, ask yourself three questions:

1. How will I feel about this in ten minutes?

2. How will I feel about this in ten months?

3. How will I feel about this in ten years?

Some decisions can cause short-term emotions, fear, and it can be useful to think about what dividends they can bring in the long run. Will you regret that you didn’t dare to do something? Or vice versa?

Based on “Habit Changers. 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals” by Ryan M.J.




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