Most important thing today?

You are bombarded with items on your to-do list. Some are large-scale projects, some have longer time lines than others, and then you have all those pesky little details you have to track. Call ____ back, email ____, follow-up on ____. There are days when my to-do list is mind-boggling, and there is not enough time in the day to get through the list. How do I coordinate and prioritize what I need to do each day?

First, I am old school. I still work with a notebook. My phone, pen, and notebook are always with me when at work. My phone keeps me up-to-date on emails, texts, and phone calls during the day and alerts me if any priorities have to shift. I might not have time to respond or handle a request, but based on the individual and the urgency of the need, I can still respond quickly (during a lull in a meeting or while walking to my next meeting) and let the individual(s) know when they can expect a response from me. My notebook keeps me on target with what I need to get done. I should also own stock in Post-Its. On the front of my notebook there is a Post-It, and sometimes there are many Post-Its. Anything that makes it to the front of my notebook means it has been escalated to: “needs to happen today or this week.” Somehow this process works for me. Yes, I go through quite a few Post-Its, but I find that colorful, visible reminders help me tackle what needs to happen each day. My iPhone is great, but it does not yell at me in the same way.

So when I read the article: “Why You Need a Daily Prioritization Meeting” from 99u.com, I thought this list could help me and wanted to share in case it helps in your daily prioritization:

“1. Do I really have to do this now?

2. If so, is it “The Most Important Thing?”

3. If not, where does it fit relative to the other tasks?

4. Is someone waiting on me for this?

5. If so, when do they need it?

6. Does working/not working on this now have long-term consequences that I’m missing?”

I thought these were great questions that can be asked each day (and throughout the day). Sometimes there are so many items on my to-do list that I just want to be able to cross them off so I do not have to look at them anymore. Other times I want to focus on getting all the little things done so I can feel like I can focus on the larger projects and not have to think about the nitty-gritty.

What do you do to help prioritize your day?

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