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Learn to Set Priorities By Using These 5 Tips and Get Things Actually DONE!

Feel Good Fulfilling Priorities
Learn to Set Priorities By Using These 5 Tips and Get Things Actually DONE!
on September, 16 2015

"Setting priorities" is a skill that helps you advance in any career. When you master it, you can easily reach your personal goals, get {or stay} out of debt, and live a rich and fulfilling life. If you learn how to set priorities, you’ll be able to finally tackle all those unfinished tasks that hunt you day after day.

The thing with priorities, is that they’re not easy to identify. Some people put other’s priorities before their own. Others live by the standard of “keeping up with the Joneses”, which will affect their priorities. And some others let their ideal life, or what others expect from them, dictate what their priorities should be.

In order to succeed at setting priorities, and "getting things done", your priorities should be a reflection of your values and what’s important to you.

When you set your priorities based on what’s important to you, you’ll find it’s so much easier to follow through and actually have the energy and will power to get yourself to do all the things you’re intended to do.

Here are some tips to help you set your priorities the right way:

1 Make distinction between what’s important and what’s not

Our daily life is full with tasks, big and small. However, not all of them have, or should have, the same relevance in our hierarchy of to-do’s. in our To-Do list

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a book that teaches about the Time Management Grid. This strategy consists in a quadrant, and each of the sections represent tasks that are:

a. Urgent and Important
b. Important but not urgent
c. Urgent but not important
d. Not Urgent and not Important

a. The first quadrant contains the tasks that are vital, either for your job, your business or your personal life. These are things that should be done immediately, with important (established) deadlines, and any revenue-generating tasks(duties).

b. The second quadrant contains the ("assignments")tasks that will make a difference in your quality of life and the development of your business or your career. Endeavors such as defining long term strategy and planning finances are usually allocated here, as well as family time, exercising, cultivating personal interests, and professional development.

c. The third quadrant is usually where we spend most of our time, mainly because there’s another person waiting for us to complete these tasks. Here are the tasks that make us feel pulled in a million different directions, for they seem to be important, but they’re not. Answering some emails and phone calls, attending non vital meetings and appointments, processing paperwork and scheduling events are just a few of the third quadrant tasks. We "get busy" taking care of them for several hours each day,  even though they won’t make a big difference in the long run.

d. Finally, the names in the fourth quadrant are just time wasters, things that add little value to our lives and barely help us move forward . Things like watching television or spending hours on social media, are typical actions under the already explicit  label " Not urgent, Not important".

Analyze your tasks and place them in one of these four sections. Then, resolve quadrant #1 first! Do it quickly so you have time to tackle quadrant #2. Delegate or avoid as much as you can of quadrant #3, and work as efficiently as possible on the mandatory items of this list. Batching your work and setting specific moments of the day to handle it, will help you to make wise use of resources. Finally, about quadrant #4, keep just what could make it for refreshing entertainment without falling into the tramp of procrastinating.

2 Put yourself first

Getting 4 hours of sleep and hardly functioning throughout the day with the aid of 12 cups of strong coffee is not a way to set yourself for success. Avoid burn out by taking good care of your body and your mind. Get good nutrients from natural sources, stay hydrated, cut back on the caffeine, and practice some sort of physical activity. Yoga is particularly beneficial, as it exercises the muscles and relaxes brain at the same time. Talk about efficiency! If you find yourself too tired after pulling an all-nighter, try to take a 20 minute power nap if possible. One work hour of a rested person is more productive than 4 made by someone who is exhausted. Remember that going to bed at a reasonable time should be one of the "Important" Tasks.

3 Analyze your priorities

Put your priorities on the table and analyze them thoroughly. Are they still relevant to the lifestyle you currently have? Are they according to who you are right now and what your interests are? Are you trying to please someone else instead? Do they bring you closer to your future self and what you want your horizon to look like? Be honest, you’re not fooling anyone but you. And every minute you spend on pursuing goals that are not aligned to what you really want is a waste of your precious time.

4 Don’t bite more than you can chew

Having an ongoing list of to-do’s is a good practice to keep all those tasks in one single place. However, trying to complete lots of tasks in one day or one hour makes you a complete disservice. Fewer, doable priorities are better than a never ending list of things you will never complete. Choose 3 MIT’s (“most important tasks”) per day, and really focus on completing them. If you get to cross off those 3 early in the day, you have 2 options: either choose 1, 2 or 3 more from your list, of call it a day, knowing you already completed 3 of your most important to-do’s.

5 Set your routines

Start making good use of your morning hours to get ahead in your day. Set up a morning and a before bed routine. Again, don’t overdo it. Don’t try to wake up at 5, go for a run, meditate, read 15 pages, shower, get dressed, put on make up, do your hair, have a green smoothie, get everyone ready to leave the house with everything they need and magazine-worthy lunches, and get to work half an hour earlier. In the very unlikely case that you get to do all that, you’ll be half dead by 10 am. Instead, add just a few items to your morning routine: wake up at a regular time, do some exercise if possible, get ready, take your vitamins and/or a healthy breakfast, check your calendar and arrive to work on time. Also, get in the habit of planning the next day, so you hit the ground running as soon as you wake up. Map out the next day as part of your before bed routine, which could include things like reading or meditating for 15 minutes to wind down, shower/bath/wash face, put on pajamas, take a relaxing herbal infusion while laying out your clothes for the next day, or spending some time with your significant other and/or children. Start with 1 or 2 things, and build up your routines to what feels comfortable and doable to you. The purpose of setting your rutines is relieve some of the pressure caused by that daunting feeling of being behind all the time, not to give you more stress.

Setting priorities is not something that is taught in school, and yet it’s vital for our personal fulfillment and professional development. Learn how to correctly set your priorities, and start getting it all done quickly and more easily.

Day Translations Team

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