Prioritize and give back
I don’t think there is a greater challenge when ordering the work. And not only work, but also personal decisions. What to do first? What to relegate? What if many things demand our action and decision at the same time? We spend a lot of time deciding, consciously or unconsciously, where we put our energy and time.
Although each situation requires different strategies, there are some methods that can come to our rescue when we need a system to help us organize ourselves. There are simple and more complex ones, it is about using what gives us clarity to be able to move forward and not succumb to the pile of issues to attack. Simple and practical, I use Steve Tobak’s ABC, in which the 3 letters are used to prioritize and order. We assign the main task (and that usually blocks others) with A, then, lower in priority but important and sometimes strategic with B, and in C another set of smaller tasks, usually operational that need to be done but can wait in urgency and importance. You can also unfold each of the letters by adding numbers. For example, if B is to call all customers who owe payments, assign B1 to B5 to cross out. In the same sense you can use the 1-3-5 rule. Identify a high daily priority, 3 of medium demand and 5 that you can solve quickly and easily.
It is also useful to think in terms of the pareto law, identify which are the activities from which we obtain a lot of revenue by investing little time. This system invites us to identify which is the 20% of our actions from which we can obtain 80% of our results, without a doubt those are a priority on our list because they free up time and give us effectiveness in the time invested.. More complex, a prioritization quadrant can be used, also called a scale method, in which what needs to be identified is the effort and impact of each thing we do. I divided the sheet in four so that you will have 4 squares left. The vertical center line is the “Impact” line (top goes “high” and bottom “low”) and the horizontal line that crosses it is the effort line (to your left goes “low” and to your right “high”). The first quadrant is high-impact activities that require low effort and it is ideal to have many of these tasks and start with them today. The second quadrant of high impact is very important, it is the strategic one, the one that helps us build for the medium and long term, but that requires a high effort. The quadrant to avoid is the one with low-impact, low-effort tasks or thoughts. And finally there’s the high-effort, low-impact quadrant where you want to outsource, automate, delegate, or ask for help.
Regardless of the system chosen, The most important thing is that the tasks you tackle have a clear meaning and purpose to move you in the desired direction and that they are not just accumulated tasks.