We all know that if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority and you know you need to be prioritising what’s on your to-do list, but how exactly do you prioritise your to-do list?
There are all sorts of logical thinking around the best order in which to deal with things.
Take finances for example. If you are in debt over a few credit cards, loans or over-drafts, it’s logical to pay off the highest interest one first.
If you have a long to-do list then it’s logical to tackle the big things first.
But sometimes, logic is not always the best option.
I remember when I signed up to Ann Wilson’s Financial Freedom University she talked about paying debt off, and at that time I had a fair amount of debt over several credit cards.
She went down all the logical and sound financial routes, including using the snowball method of repaying debts and then she threw a curved ball….
She asked me to look at each debt and feel into which one was the one that annoyed me the most.
Which one, that when paid off would give the most satisfaction?
And it wasn’t the largest, or the one with the highest interest; it was actually an interest free payment for a course I had bought and never completed. It annoyed me. It made me feel a failure and each month when the money was paid out of my account, I resented it.
The weird thing is that when I put all my resources into clearing that bitty little debt, I got a contract for 6 weeks that paid the exact amount of one of the larger amounts!! Amazing!!
It was the one things that made the biggest difference and it’s a lesson I never forgot and many years later (now totally debt free (thank you Ann), I often return to this way of thinking.
But how does paying off debt relate to your to-do list? Let’s have a look…
How many items do you have on there? More than 10? 20? More??? Now, how many of them just never seem to get done and have been hanging around for weeks or months, or longer?
Don’t they just sap your energy every time you see they’re still on there?
Of course, the reason they are still there is because other things pop up that are more important, bigger tasks that need a good allocation of time and resources, so those little, annoying ones get pushed further down the list.
So how about you re-write your to-do list? Are you up for that? If so, let’s do it together right now….yes, now, off you go and get it….and get another piece of paper or whatever you use to write out your to-do list…
OK so look at your list (try not to get too depressed). Thinking logically, number them in importance; 1 being the most important and whatever number you reach, being the least important. Ie if you have 20 items you’ll score them 1-20 with 20 being the least importance, if you have 50 items, number 50 will be the least important.
Now are there any there any that are really vitally important and simply must be done within the next day or two? If yes, highlight them and make sure they are at the top of your list (we don’t want you driving around with no car insurance or forgetting to send Great Aunt Lucy her birthday card!)
Good. Now put a little mark next to the ones that have been hanging around for ages and are actually getting either really annoying or you find you’re just trying to ignore them.
Are any of those annoying ones in your top 5? If not, move them into your top 5; you’ll probably have to re-arrange some of the others and this is where it gets interesting as you’ll start to get conflicted (oh but Sharon, these 35 are ALL so important!!)
Trust me, those 35 things are not going to get done any quicker when you have the annoyances hanging around.
Getting rid of these will free up more energy and space than you could possibly know….what a weight lifted to get them gone!!
Now you have your top 5 (or maybe 10) which includes the annoying, niggly ones and these are the ones you need to focus on.
Don’t worry about the others right now (if you can, use the eliminate, automate, delegate process with them), you’ll get to them with renewed vigour soon!
In your diary, put in the days/times when you will get those completed and once completed, give yourself a pat on the back and a little celebration – that was a win right? And move to the next….
Sometimes the one thing that makes the difference isn’t logical or linear; sometimes it’s based on feelings, intuition and turning things upside-down! And that’s OK too.