Prioritise top three 20160802

Prioritising (and why it doesn’t matter what you do first)

You’ve got so many things on your list to do, and sometimes it seems really hard to decide where to start, right? And even when you get some of them done, the list doesn’t seem to get shorter, does it? You just wish there was an easy way of prioritising, but you don’t know how to find it!


Well, let me make this really easy for you. It really doesn’t matter which tasks you choose to do first! Let me explain.

But first let me tell you that this is one of the tips and techniques that makes most sense and gets the best responses from all the people I train and mentor. Some of the reasons for this are because it is simple, yet powerful. It helps you get to the end of each day knowing how much you have achieved, and makes it much easier to achieve your longer term goals (you’ve got those written down already, right?).

You’ve probably heard about prioritising your top 3-5 most important tasks for each day. I recommend sticking with your top three. You get those three done in the day (maybe even in the morning), and can finish your day with the satisfaction of knowing you ticked off your three most important tasks. But it never seems quite that easy in reality, does it? The biggest problem people have with that is prioritising which are the top three in the first place.

Now remember that nobody ever gets done everything on their list. You may have loads of high priority tasks, and you may also have loads of tasks that can be put off. And maybe there is not much in the middle. So if it is not really about getting a shorter list, then maybe it is really about achieving what you want to achieve. Reaching those goals, and enjoying the journey along the way.


Prioritise your top three

So instead of trying to get it right, today you just choose three tasks that are probably pretty important to you right now (they may or may not be urgent as well). Fast forward two weeks from now, where you have been prioritising by choosing three tasks each day. Assuming you work five days a week, that means you have chosen 30 tasks in the two weeks. And those 30 tasks are generally helping you to move towards your goals. So it really doesn’t matter which tasks you did on day one or day three or day seven. Right?

It’s like when a plane takes off from New York to fly south to Rio for the Olympics. The plane will be off course more than 90% of the time, and may have even take off heading north along the runway, but as long as the plane adjusts its course to be heading in generally the right direction, it will arrive at the destination on time. The same goes for your top three tasks. When you are prioritising, instead of trying to get it exactly right, you just choose three that seem to be important to achieving your goals; important to you right now. Do those, then at the end of each day, acknowledge what you have achieved, and choose what is most important for you to do tomorrow (rather than doing this at the start of your day, it really is much better to do this before you finish each work day). That’s you doing your course corrections, just like the plane does.

And after a month or two or three of doing this, you will have completed loads of the tasks that are important for you. Your prioritising is really working well, and you know you are making really good progress towards your goals. And that’s what we all want.

So it doesn’t really matter what you do first, as long as you do something that will help you move towards your goals. Now, off you go and do something!


One thought on “Prioritising (and why it doesn’t matter what you do first)

  1. Scott RJ Amberley

    Thanks Russell, this makes sense in my world. Also helps me think that, getting wrong can be getting it right.


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