Personal Development Forum

Wisdom Happiness Excellence => Cognition, Psychology & Rationality => Topic started by: admin on 2012 12 22 - 10:09

Title: Prioritizing
Post by: admin on 2012 12 22 - 10:09
- To prioritize is to determine the order for dealing with (a series of items or tasks) according to their relative importance.

Benefits of applying this knowledge:
• More focus on what matters and less rushing between random things tugging at your attention.
• Peace of mind from the assurance that you are doing the things that really matter.
• Make the most of your time and get maximum rewards for the least amount of time and effort.
• Before doing things it is good to make wise choices about what to do for most benefit and happiness.

General information:
• When prioritizing, typing a list is usually better than mentally trying to sort out a list in your head and trying to remember it.
• If you have a list of things to be done, make it a habit to dedicate a little time for determining which things should be done first.
• If you have a  list, cross tasks off the list as you complete them. This gives you a rewarding sense of accomplishment inspiring you to go on.
• Continually ask yourself: “What next action/project will have the greatest impact towards what I want relative to the least amount of time and effort?”
• How big is the anticipated return on my commitment of time and resources? If I successfully complete this action / project – what effect will it bring compared to other actions / projects.
• How hard or easy will it be to figure out the steps needed to take this project to completion.
• Is it better to start a big project or do something quick and easy?
• If you deem that two tasks have the same importance and urgency, choose the task which requires the least amount of effort.
• When deciding what to prioritize, you can also include factors like how much you will enjoy doing the tasks needed.
• Prioritizing can be good for daily tasks, but take some time to prioritize your personal life-goals as well. For example things you want to do, places to go and skills to learn.
• Be flexible and relax. Don’t go overboard with prioritizing everything, or it can end up being counterproductive stealing time and spontaneity from actually doing stuff. Use it with common sense as a tool when needed.
Below are three unique and more comprehensive prioritization methods:

 Bubble Prioritizing:

• When you have a list of things (goals, for example) and want the important to arise to the top like bubbles.
• Compare the two first items on your list. Decide which one is more important and label this your “favorite”.
• Now continue and compare the third item on your list with your current favorite and decide which is more important. The one you decide is more important will become (or remain) your current favorite.
• Now keep doing the same thing with every item on your list comparing each one with whatever your current favorite happens to be at this point. Whenever you prefer a new item over your current favorite then that item becomes your current favorite.
• When you reach the end of the list, the current favorite that remains is the single most important item on the list. Thus, this becomes your “First favorite”. You have compared it directly or indirectly with every other item and preferred it every time. Mark it by writing a “1″ beside it.
• Now repeat the process (This time ignore the ‘First Favorite” because you have already ranked it) to find out your second most important item and mark it with writing a “2″ next to it. Continue repeating this process comparing two items at a time, until you have sorted the whole list or as many as you see necessary (For example, sometimes you may just want to find out the top three).
• This method is a handy tool which can be applied to other things too. For example, when you have several similar photo-shots and want to sort out the very best picture out of the similar ones, so that you can delete the others and be sure to save the very best shot.

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Prioritizing using "Bubble Prioritization" 

Quadrant Prioritizing:

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Prioritizing using "Prioritization quadrant"

• You can see where your tasks fit into the following quadrant:

Urgent and important examples:
 - Medical emergencies.

 - Attend a vital job-interview.
 - Meeting with a potential investor.

Important but not urgent examples:
 - Exercise.
 - Repair faulty staircase.
 - Book appointment with a dentist.

Urgent but not important examples:

 - Unimportant Interruptions.
 - Return library books.
 - Answer a random phone-call.

Not important and not Urgent examples:

 - Gossip.
 - Ironing and folding socks.
 - Watch random YouTube-clips.
• Remaining too much within the ‘Urgent and Important’-category is stressful and exhausting, which usually results in suboptimal performance.
• Try to concentrate on tasks within the ‘Important but not urgent’ -category. If you don’t handle these, then some of them may eventually turn into ‘Urgent and Important’. On the other hand, if you plan properly you will tend to face fewer emergencies or pressing problems in your life.
• Be wary not to let ‘Urgent but not important’ steal too much time from your ‘Important but not Urgent’ actions. However, it can be good to designate a day (i.e. once a month) to doing the little things cluttering up your to-do list. This can allow you to check off many items and free up your mind for the important stuff.
• You can choose to spend less time within ‘Not important and not urgent’. Note that this does not mean eliminating things that relax you and make you feel happy, since those things are important.
• What is really important is what will enrich your life the most and as such it is a matter of personal opinion. You define what is important to you based on your own values.
Grid Analysis PrioritizingA thorough and comprehensive way of prioritizing a list of items.
• List all items in a row from top to bottom.
• From left to right list the factors to consider when evaluating each item.

• Now draw a grid (or use a spreadsheet program like Excel or the free ‘Open Office Calc’) and rate how well each item score in each factor.
• Optional: If you happen to put more emphasis on some of the factors more than others, you can now multiply the scores for that factor by a value of your choice, let’s say x 2.
• Now calculate the total score of each item to discover  their relative position.

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 Remember that most of the time it is enough to just ask yourself:
 “What next action/project will have the greatest impact towards what I want relative to the least amount of time and effort?”.

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Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: Self Help Australia on 2013 03 14 - 03:15
Wow this is really helpful. I often struggle with prioritizing and feel overwhelmed because of it.
Thanx :)
Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: klind60 on 2013 03 17 - 05:45
The bubble, quadrant and grid methods are all interesting. especially the quadrant. I have often thought I run around doing what is urgent instead of what's important. Any of them should help me if I'm undecided and procrastinating.

On a day when I have too much to do it helps me to tackle the toughest one first when I'm fresh. The tasks go easier and quicker as I tire physically and mentally. It also avoids having that thing I don't like to do hanging over my head.

Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: Serene on 2014 02 08 - 19:29
Has this technique actually worked for people? I've been finding that even when I have a list of priorities, it's just hard to focus on and complete projects.
Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: admin on 2014 02 08 - 23:50
Has this technique actually worked for people? I've been finding that even when I have a list of priorities, it's just hard to focus on and complete projects.

This article is just about prioritizing things. Focus and completion are different topics for other articles ;-)
Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: positive_guy on 2014 02 11 - 04:00
Great info  :) I especially found the "Bubble Prioritization" helpful. Reminds me of a classic bubble sort in computing. It hit a chord with me because of this and the application it has to 'real life' to-do lists.
Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: WisdomMiners on 2014 03 13 - 18:39
I dont think I have EVER seen Prioritizing broken down to this extent and yet still make sense. This is an awesome post! Good Stuff, and Thanks!
Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: Paul on 2014 06 05 - 05:32
I use the four quadrants method a lot and find that this really helps me do the things that are important for my long term success and fulfilment.  There is even a Mac and iPhone app called "Quandranto" which I use.

It's also important to give the task you are currently doing your full attention.  I quit my email programs and close any other distracting websites that I don't need.   It'a also useful to set an outcome before you start a task as this focus's your mind.

Tim Ferriss has many great tips for prioritising and time management in his "4 hour work week" book.  It's well worth a read and it's quite entertaining in places too!
Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: Authentic_Self on 2014 06 12 - 03:05
If something is a high priority, you need to give it your full attention, and I've found you can't fully focus on something, unless you have all those other nagging tasks off your mind. This is why have a good organization system to manage all your tasks is so important. We've all had that high priority task we know we needed to get done, but the idea of "I really should reply to that email" or something similar nagging away at us.

Once you have all those other tasks parked somewhere and off your mind, the 4 quadrant model is good to help set priorities.


Title: Re: Prioritizing
Post by: Arpita on 2016 06 16 - 23:39
Extremely useful post !

Prioritizing for me is focusing on the task at hand, one step at a time. Also, I do fret about time limit a lot. So, exercising everyday is important to me, but exercising everyday for 1.5 hours is not.

I have recently finished writing my own book and I can say, commitment is what matters in order to meet priorities. Again, I wrote everyday along with my day job, without giving myself a time limit. And I have successfully completed my debut novel.