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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!



It won’t take long, but it will take away

We’ve all been there. We know there are some really important things that we should get done today. And then you think of this other little job that you could get out of the way right now. You hear yourself saying “It won’t take long. I’ll just do it now, so it’s done and out of the way”. And maybe even a bit of “Doing it now or later will take just the same amount of time”. But there is a hidden danger here. It diverts you attention from what you really should be doing. Consumes your time. And so often does that one or two minute task actually take way longer than you expected. Right? Maybe you have also experienced this.

Just like when someone drops by and asks “Do you have a minute?” it almost always takes more than a minute, doesn’t it?

So that small task, that would be nice to tick off, really won’t take long. But it will take away your focus and take away the time you should be spending on the really important stuff right now.


While people do get some degree of satisfaction from ticking things off their list, it is far more satisfying to complete the important stuff than just tick off some small (and typically less important) thing. Each day, you should know the 1-3 top priority (priority 1) tasks you have chosen for that day. The ones that are most important to you that day (you chose them yesterday before finishing work, right?). These are tasks that are important to you, will help move you towards achieving your goals, and maybe are things that you have been putting off for too long already.

“Discipline is simply choosing between what you want now and what you want most “

Just imagine what it will be like when you have all three of them completed and ticked off later today, maybe even before lunch. How good would that be?

And in contrast, if instead of doing the priority one tasks now, you did that small thing that won’t take long, then another and another. Before you know it, another day is gone (that you will never get back) and you have spent it ticking off all these little things that really took longer than you thought they would. “Oh well. There’s always tomorrow. I’ll start on the top priorities tomorrow”. But we all know that tomorrow never comes, and years can go by without making any progress towards your goals. And that sucks.

So which would you rather? I know which one I choose. And I am doing it right now. I have my list on the desk next to me. In the left column are my three #1 priorities for today, and finishing this blog will complete the next one of them. In the right column are the other things I would like to get done today (priority #2 or lower). I can do them once I finish the priority #1s. As things may pop into my head that need doing, I write them down on the right, so I won’t forget, and they may get done later. I intend to complete all my #1 priorities today before lunch. And that feels good just saying it, and picturing how good the afternoon will be once I have achieved that. How about you?

So next time you are tempted to do that job that won’t take long, instead of actually doing it, write it down on your priority #2 list. That way you will remember to do it, and once your priority #1s are done today, you can then choose which of the other things you will complete and tick off today too.

And if you don’t tick off your #1 priorities for three days, contact us and we can help you overcome what is holding you back. Or to find out about how the entire Business Time Lord system can give you the control and freedom in your business, contact us now, The time has come to do it now.

Have a great day,

The Business Time Lord team

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