How to ruthlessly prioritize to get more things that matter done?

When we are working for others, we have to go through yearly appraisal.

For my current work as of today (20151003), I have three major projects (each has many sub-projects): project T, project R, project S. The weighting of projects T and R are the highest and the same.

In August and September 2015, project T has taken a lot of my time and energy, leaving me with little of these precious resources to focus on project R. Moreover, I am dealing with a sub-project of project S that is related to project T.

While I love to help people, I find that being involved in conflicts, trying to resolve others’ conflicts, attending to (sometimes irrational) demands of our customers, dealing with difficult co-workers can be physically and emotionally consuming for myself.

Therefore, I envision a future work that involves more mutually beneficial interactions with people and less of dealing with difficult / irrationally demanding people. I remember that in a previous job just before this one, the only demanding person whom I had to deal with was my direct boss. Perhaps, this was contributed by the independent nature of my projects in the previous work.

It is important to ruthlessly prioritize to get more things that matter done. Below are some strategies on how to prioritize.

  1. Collect and write down a list of all our lifetime dreams and prioritized people.
  2. Collect and write down a list of all our yearly goals.
  3. Collect and write down a list of all our monthly goals.
  4. Collect and write down a list of all our daily tasks. Use only 5-minute.
  5. Create stop-doing list / not-to-do list for things that consume a lot of our resources (physical energy, brain, time and money) but bring no or little happiness to ourselves and others.
  6. Identify important vs urgent. Sometimes, we need to allow importance to trump urgency. Think about what is important and essential. To quote Marcus Aurelius, “Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.”
  7. Assess value. In general, the more people involved or impacted, the higher the stakes.
  8. Decide what to do, delegate or discard.
  9. Do less. Remember that less != laziness. Busy = lazy thinking of what really matter.
  10. Do one thing at a time. Happily mark a tick on a completed task.
  11. Apply Parkinson’s Law. It is the notion that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
  12. Give ourselves some space. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.
  13. Tell ourselves and others that we only have half the time we really have.
  14. Develop habits and rituals, because they give a sense of importance. For example, I always start my day, no matter how many things that I have to do, with prayers.
  15. Batch together similar tasks.
  16. Accept and be prepared that endless demands will show up from the outside world. Remember that when we create and give ourselves space, we can find the internal clarity with which to navigate the external pressures of our hyper connected world.
  17. Detach the perspective that our inbox = our to-do list. Our email mostly consists of other people’s agenda.
  18. Be flexible and adaptable. Know that our priorities will change, and often when we least expect them to. However, we also want to stay focused on the tasks we are committed to completing.
  19. Know when to cut and apply the art of not finishing. Be courageous to mark a “x” for tasks that we decide to discard without completing.

See also:

ref*/how_to_prioritize_20151003.txt

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11 comments

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