How to prioritise so you actually achieve what you want
Do you feel like you know how to prioritise your tasks well?
As always this counts for both your business and your life.
Or do you often feel like you’re spinning plates and at any moment they’re all just going to drop?!
If you struggle to see what you’re REAL priorities are and get stuck in the ‘busy being busy’ tasks and feeling like you’re not really getting anywhere, or jumping from shiny object to shiny object…then you’re NOT alone!
It’s easier when you’re told what to prioritise
When you’re in a job it’s often a lot easier to know what your priorities are because you’ll be led by management based on the business priorities. Targets, goals, aims etc. Essentially you get told what your priorities are.
If you don’t know what YOUR targets, goals, aims etc are it’s easy to see how the priorities can get lost in the ether and be harder to spot.
There is an element of juggling to be expected between business and life priorities but it’s just about being able to identify if priorities need to shift in the moment or if you have to use your self-discipline to stay on track and not get blown off course.
Behavioural flexibility is always going to be a keystone to success because life happens, but the more you practice and become aware of what the real priorities are in the moment then the easier it’s going to feel.
Prioritising is sooo Important!
Helping clients prioritise is a BIG part of what I do. Specifically in the Proactive Pants Mastermind but also in my 1:1 work.
Helping get them out of those moments where their focus has gone, or when the thing they THINK is the priority actually isn’t really and it’s causing them frustration or ‘distress’ in some way, and you can see why it’s important.
There are a TONNE of different ways and modalities for prioritising and you need to find the way that works for you but i’ll talk you through a couple of my favourites and I’ll also talk you through how I prioritise so you can decide what’s going to work for YOU!
The Eisenhower Matrix
A very popular method to work out your priorities is the Eisenhower Matrix.
It’s simply splitting tasks into a quadrant with urgent vs not urgent and important vs not important.
So if it’s urgent and important, it’s an obvious priority.
If it’s urgent and not important these can be those tasks that you delegate. So things that do need to be done but awful things aren’t going to happen if they don’t get done or can easily be done by someone else to leave you free for things that are more important. For example, that Facebook post that didn’t go out today.
If it’s not urgent but it’s important then decide it needs to be done and then schedule a time to do it. That doesn’t have to be right now but it needs to be at some point.
If it’s not urgent and not important DELETE IT FROM YOUR LIST!
There are things that will come up every day that SEEM super important. Be honest with yourself.
Do them if they are…while keeping the bigger picture/end goal in mind so you’re always moving forwards!
My scary brain dump to do list.
I’ve talked about this method in several episodes but it’s always worth reinforcing because often when clients go back into overwhelm and I ask if they’ve done this the answer is no.
Then they go do it…priorities straight, no more overwhelm. Magic!
You can find a link to my template HERE
So, here’s how it works.
Split a page into 3 columns. Column 1 is the scary brain dump part where you put everything down that you’re telling yourself you need to do.
In the middle column take the tasks from column 1 that absolutely have to be done this week or there are consequences.
In column 3 split it into the number of days you’re working and every day in the morning take 3 tasks from the middle column that have to be done that day or there are consequences.
So you’re always having to be honest with what the real priorities are. It forces you to think that way. Once you’ve done your 3 you can add another and feel super accomplished and productive but it will always keep you honest about what REALLY has to get done.
For me it’s all about what’s going to move the needle the fastest. Be that financially, audience growth or creating head space.
Essentially, What’s going to get you to your goals and where you want to go quickest.
Eat That Frog
People can have a tendency to avoid certain tasks, for a number of reasons, but what those tasks do is stay in our minds like a pesky little gremlin taunting us with it’s presence.
It takes away your focus, your motivation and sends you straight to procrastination station.
The quickest and best way to get rid of that pesky gremlin is to just do the task.
It will often take a fraction of the time you’re telling yourself it will and it will honestly create so much head space and relief for you the pain of getting started is completely worth it.
My favourite person in this field is Brian Tracy, and my favourite tool of his is detailed in his book Eat That Frog. I
It’s the idea that you tackle the biggest, scariest task first and then everything after that will feel SO much easier.
It works a treat and is often one of the first questions i’ll ask a client if they’re stuck in overwhelm. Which task would create the most head space?!
Mindset and productivity go hand in hand
You’re probably starting to see why I link Mindset and Productivity together in my business.
They are intrinsically linked.
Often we think we have a mindset problem and it’s actually just a few simple productivity tweaks that are needed.
On the flip side, we can often think we have a productivity problem but actually it’s an unconscious mindset issue going on that’s sabotaging your progress.
It’s difficult to know which without talking to an expert, so that’s where people like me come in.
A few other prioritisation tips
Stop telling yourself everything is just as important!
You know it’s not true really. There may be a few things that are the same level of importance, but not everything. If that’s the case, pick one and it’s go time, then the next, then the next.
One foot in front of the other.
Also, on some things you may easily look at as ‘urgent’ such as emails, what can you put in place to make them less so?
For me having an auto response set up on my email is a game changer because it allows me to work how I want to work and schedule how I want to schedule and minimise context switching.
People are addicted to instant gratification, but they also crave acknowledgement.
Often an acknowledgement that their message has been received and a time frame to expect a response can be enough to keep the wolves from the door, so you’re not constantly context switching and having to drop everything the second an email comes through.
Bear in mind that often we THINK something is really urgent but it’s really not so just be aware, catch yourself and ask yourself the question. What happens if this doesn’t get done right now? Are there consequences for me or other people? What are they?
Perhaps most importantly, if you’re consistently putting something off, it’s time to work out why.
SO much of what we procrastinate over, put off and de-prioritise is deeper rooted than we think.
Yes there’s the age old ‘I just don’t want to do it’ but sometimes it could be what we’re telling ourselves happens once the task is done.
Stories about what we commit ourselves to, what we’re making it MEAN.
There could be a fear of success, fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear that we’ll have to keep doing something that actually deep down we don’t want to.
So many things can contribute to it from our unconscious programming. As soon as you work out what it is you get that power of awareness, which gives choice and responsibility which then gives you much more to work with in terms of what is really a priority, and what’s not.
So, how I like to think of things to help me prioritise.
What’s going to move the needle fastest?
What would create the most head space for me if it was done?
How does this push me forwards towards my goals?
What are the consequences if it gets done, or not done?
And just be honest with yourself and challenge your thoughts, or be around other people that will.
Come join the Proactive Pants Mastermind if you want my help and my eyes on your priorities 😉
If you know that now is the time to start changing things for yourself and want to explore this further, have any questions or want some accountability to make sure you’re doing the things you need to then please book in a free discovery call so we can see what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the successful business owner you know you can be!!
P.S – Last question…Are you sick of self sabotaging and procrastinating on getting your business going? Would you like to learn some practical strategies to stop you procrastinating WHEN it happens so you can FINALLY get the things you NEED to do DONE? Download my FREE guide below and I’ll show you 5 simple strategies to stop procrastination in its tracks!
Apply for The Proactive Pants Mastermind here
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Fran Excell, mindset coach for self sabotaging female entrepreneurs at www.franexcell.com