Let’s envision an ideal beginning to your day. You know your path and all that’s on it, because your plans follow your priorities. Even setbacks and surprises feel manageable. The most important tasks will get accomplished, no matter what. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Prioritizing is a Heart-Based Time Management™ Tool.
Prioritizing is a lifelong linking of your heart, your mind, and your responsiveness to ongoing change. Here are some benefits you enjoy when you prioritize:
1. You feel relaxed.
When your priorities are clear, you are at peace with what comes first and what can wait.
2. You feel safe.
Because you’ve weighed the options objectively, your time choices are firmly grounded in reality.
3. You feel confident.
Your skill at prioritizing helps you remain agile, even as new situations arise. This ease with change encourages you to remain calm, alert and resourceful.
4. Your time is uncluttered.
When you prioritize, you simplify. The more you exercise decisiveness, the stronger your “prioritizing muscles” become.
5. You experience inner abundance.
You know, right down to your toes, that fulfillment arises from heart-based prioritizing and the commitment to use your time accordingly.
2 Basic Prioritizing Tools
Prioritizing skills can be developed in small, workable steps. Here are 2 essential tools you can start with:
1. Due Dates
“Deadlines” sound so … dead. I prefer to think in terms of “due dates”. After all, each completed project “births” new possibilities! Notice how using due dates helps focus your mind. This powerful-yet-simple tool encourages you to confront and overcome obstacles as you move toward your top priority.
Obstacles might well include distractions that appeal to you. When you identify them as threats to your success, you assign them a lower priority, at least for now. Thanks to your prioritizing, you have given yourself a destination and a clear path to follow in the hours ahead.
When you work on a project that requires collaboration, the “dependency” is a person outside your immediate work group whose participation you need in order to reach your goals. Dependencies need to be factored in, when you are prioritizing tasks.
For example, let’s say that you collaborate with multiple departments at work. You set up budgets on a quarterly basis, and you need to obtain your figures from the finance department. Since they generally take three weeks, prioritize your request so that you make it well in advance of your due date. This ensures that you get the necessary information in plenty of time.
Of course, others depend on YOU, as well. Perhaps your child needs you to create a costume for a play. Without hesitation, you give this task top priority. In this instance your heart-based connection to your child, and your child’s reliance on you, anchor this priority’s importance as you plan.
Consider starting your revolution by refreshing your mindset and introducing these concepts as you plan your day. Notice how your effectiveness grows with each small step that carries its own rewards.
Soft deadlines keep you from bumping into hard limits.
Completing a task before the absolute last minute supports your success and helps your flexibility. So routinely provide yourself with earlier, soft deadlines. This creates a cushion of time for tying up loose ends and handling unanticipated glitches.
Start assigning soft deadlines for important tasks. Write them into your calendar. Consider writing all soft deadlines in one color, and adding the hard deadlines in another to easily distinguish between the two. Then practice focusing on the soft deadline, so that you create the latitude you desire.
When establishing a soft deadline, ask yourself:
1. How familiar is this task?
Schedule extra time for new challenges – remember the “times two” rule and double your time estimate!
2. How many people’s cooperation and assistance do you need to complete the project?
Allow for more time as the number of dependencies increases.
3. How vulnerable is this project to disruptions?
Are you squeezing a big enterprise into an already full space? Expect spillover and schedule accordingly!
4. What is your personal history with meeting deadlines?
If you habitually drag your heels for any reason, build in buffer time to help overcome your resistance.
5. What consequences will you face if your final deadline is not met?
Let your soft deadline create a safety zone to protect you from harsh outcomes.
As you explore using soft deadlines, along with honing your prioritizing skills, you’ll be amazed and pleased with how these tools affect your experience of each of your moments.© Copyright 2012 Paula Eder, Ph.D.