Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Workday Wednesday: Putting Our Priorities In Order

As I've mentioned before, although I know that I ought to do it every day, I sometimes forget to stop and pray at the start of my day.  On those days that I forget, I am quickly reminded of why I should. Things get out of control relatively soon and very little progress is made on things that actually matter.  Today, I spent a little time in adoration, asking God to help me know how to better prioritize my days so that the important stuff gets done.  The advice that I got was so amazing (and so simple that I don't know why I didn't see it before) that I've decided to share it with my readers:

When making a project list, write down everything that comes to mind that needs to be done, but don't worry about the order yet. Just dump it all out on paper.  Once you have your list, put dates beside each task as to when it is due.  This will show you which projects are today's priority projects, and which can wait for another day.

Now, look at your tasks for today.  Which things on the list absolutely cannot be rescheduled because they are outside of your control - such as having to pick up a person from the airport or a child from school? Mark those projects with an M (mandatory).  Projects marked with an M are your first priority.

Now, go back through your list of priorities.  How long do you estimate each project will take you?  Multiply the number of minutes you estimate by 5. If you think it will take you 10 minutes, give yourself 50.  If you think it will take you 1 hour, give yourself 5.  The reason for this is that our projects almost always take us longer than we think they will because of unscheduled interruptions and unforseen complications.

Put the projects that will take you the least amount of time at the very top of the list.  Get those done first.  Not only will this clear off more tasks from your to-do list but will help you gain momentum in your workday because you will get rewarded with feelings of accomplishment each time you check something off of your list.

If a project doesn't take as long as you expected it to take and it is a project that is recurring (such as writing articles for a blog), use the extra time to work ahead by conducting research, creating an outline or project plan, etc.  If you can't work ahead or it isn't a recurring project, apply the time to the next project on the list. When you've finished all the tasks on your M list for that day, apply any free time you have to organizing the next day's M list or to working a little on a big project that's going to take multiple days worth of time, and then spend the rest of your day with your family and friends.

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