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Prioritizing My Priorities

“If everything is important, then nothing is important.” – I’m reminded of these famous words from Brian Mulroney as I stare at my To-Do list.  It appears I have much to do.  This is that moment when I’m tempted to get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or heck even go the bathroom – anything except figure out what to do next.  Having a large to-do list is challenging enough, not knowing which to-do to do is even more challenging – they’re all important Mr. Mulroney.  Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest let me focus on what I’m able to do – I’m able to prioritize my priorities. Let’s see if this works.  As I look at my to-do list I’ve separated the items into four categories.

No Need To-Do: The title is sufficient. The first sign is when I look at the item an ask, “why am I doing this?”  There are some things I put on my list that just don’t need be on the list.  Don’t need to be done, don’t need to be monitored and surely I don’t need to grade my daily performance on their accomplishment or lack thereof.

Somebody Else’s To-Do:  I’ve found there are items on my to-do list that aren’t really mine.  I let someone else put their “monkey on my back.” For those of us who have a hard time saying no, our list gets filled very easily with these items.  Time to give those back to their rightful owner.

Like To-Do: These are usually items that fall in my comfort zone – this doesn’t mean these are all play items – there are work tasks that I like to do as well – they don’t require much effort and don’t cause much stress.  They add value to my peace of mind, but I have to be careful to not get too comfortable and forget to engage in the tasks that push my limits.

Need To-Do: These are the important matters, whether I like doing them or not, they must get done.  There’s normally a deadline approaching.  Procrastination and avoidance hovers over this portion of my list.  It’s about this time I turn to Social Media or the bathroom for a justifiable escape.

Have To-Do: These are usually my Like To-Do’s and Need To-Do’s that have been neglected.  Now I’ve reached a point where they have to be done, like yesterday.  This becomes a high-pressure, high-stress, drama-filled moment filled with hectic external activity and regret-filled internal thoughts of “would a” “could a” “should a”.

So I guess Mr. Mulroney is right, everything isn’t important.  Hopefully this will help me figure out what really is.  Try it for yourself and tell me if it helps you prioritize your priorities.

Make it a great one.


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