One of the questions I was recently asked is how do you manage multiple priorities. Here are some thoughts I’ve put together to answer that question.
One of my favorite comedy bits is Bob Newhart’s one where he’s a psychiatrist working with somebody in solving all problems quickly. The operative word is the phrase stop it. To watch this clip click here.
Here’s something for you to consider: just stop trying to juggle multiple priorities. When you try to do too many things you end up doing nothing and your productivity goes down while your frustration goes up.
Here are some things you can do that help you focus on the right things.
Start with goal mapping.
You might feel that there are just too many things to do and not enough time to do them. If that sounds like you, then you might want to think about having a planning methodology to let you focus on the activities that will bring you true value.
My favorite method for doing this is using a strategy called goal mapping. I’ve written about goal mapping in the past and here’s a link to the posts that I’ve written. If you’re interested in learning more about goal mapping check out the posts.
Do a weekly plan
Once a week sit down and plan what you want to accomplish over the next seven days. I do this on Sunday afternoon because it allows me to start the week focused and energized.
A weekly plan allows you to think about the coming week in a holistic manner considering what’s really important for you. Of all the things I do to manage my time I think this is the most important one. I believe it would also be the most important one for you too.
Start with the ONE big thing you want to accomplish
When you look at your list of projects the first project you need to look at is your big rock folder. This folder will have any projects that are the most important and will provide you with the most value.
Choose the one big rock that you want to move the needle on during the coming week. Plan what you need to do on this project first and I do mean first before any other plans are done.
Make sure when you’re planning your week you don’t try to jam in too much. The only thing that will accomplish is to raise your frustration and make sure there is no movement on the project that will help the most.
Schedule and block time for the one big thing.
The first thing you want to schedule is your one big thing. You’re going to want to do what’s called time blocking on this project.
Time blocking is where you take your calendar and make appointments with yourself for when you’re going to work on your one big thing to the exclusion of everything else. This is not something that you can put off. It’s the most important thing you can accomplish that will help you reach your outcomes in a most effective and efficient way.
Understand the difference between urgent and not important versus important but not urgent.
Too often we get confused. You might be getting confused between working on things that are important but not urgent versus things that appear to be urgent but are just not that important.
If you allow yourself to be sucked into working on urgent but not important things you can be sure that you’ll be ignoring the one big thing that you want to accomplish for the week. I just have two words to say to you, “Stop it.”
You must learn to use the word no.
If you’re going to be successful at achieving big things you need to learn to say the word no. No is not a bad word. In fact, no could become your best friend.
When you learn to say no, you’re actually learning to say yes. By saying no you’re creating capacity for you to work on the one big thing that will help you move the needle in a way that makes your life better and helps you create a sustainable business.
At the end of the day it’s all in your court.
How you spend your time is always your choice. I can tell you those who create great things and make a difference in the world rarely feel overwhelmed. They’ve become very good at knowing what the one big thing is and they’ve learned to say no.
How about you? Are you willing to focus on just one thing at a time, let the other things sit on the back burner and learn to use the word no? I hope the answer is yes.
Why don’t you leave a comment below or click here and let me know what you think?