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24 Oct

Set the goal first, prioritize later

Date: 2012-10-24 12:00 Comments: 0 st

When we have more to be done than there is time to do things in, we need to prioritize amongst all the things we have to do.

We can not do everything at the same time and perhaps not in a single day, so we need to determine what to do first and what to do next.

As you most likely know, there are several prioritization-tools we can make use of. You might have encountered some of them in Done! (such as the important/urgent-matrix) and some you will be introduced to in due time.

Methods and tools can come in handy, but before we can even begin to make use of them, we need to make something clear.

Different tasks have different weights

We do not do all the things we busy ourselves with in our daily lives, all the different tasks and doings, just for nothing.

They are the means to accomplishing something, be it big or small. They are intended to be the little building bricks that together with the tasks our colleagues perform propel our company forward.

But some tasks contribute more than others to this progression. To make the right priorities is to prioritize those tasks which are of greater importance in making the business develop in the desired direction.

Keeping this in mind, clarify what goals you want and need to attain in your particular position in the company.

If we do not know where we want to go, it is difficult to know what is to be considered important. If the goals are unclear, we have to resort to following our gut-feeling, intuition and reptile-brain to set our priorities. Our lives will be made considerably more comfortable if we instead have the opportunity to prioritize consciously.

Do this

  1. Take an empty sheet of paper, grab a pen and quickly write down your three most important goals for this year. If you can think of more than three, put those down as well.

    These goals can be key-figures that measure how well you succeed in terms of revenues, results, volume, quality, level of service, how pleased your clients are, how happy the employed are, or something else of importance to you. If you have one or several important deadlines throughout the year these could also be regarded as goals. As can significant milestones, that is, events which we believe will, if they occur, be of significant importance to the business in the long-run.

  2. If you have difficulties thinking of goals, take a look at the common goals for your department or company, and ask yourself what you do in your role that contributes to the attainment of those objectives. Now formulate your individual goals while keeping this in mind.

  3. You could also ask your boss or manager. If he or she doesn’t know either, it might prove a valuable opportunity for a discussion in which you can pan out goals that will make your work-life easier.

  4. If you suspect that you will need to be reminded of what the goals are from time to time, write them down on a note which you paste somewhere in the office where you will catch glimpses of it frequently.

Clear priorities allows for relaxed efficiency

If you clarify what goals you are working towards, you will set yourself up for being able to prioritize more accurately in both the short- and long run.

It will be much easier to determine what tasks are of greater importance and which are of less. Thereafter you will be able to work knowing that you are making the right priorities right now and that there is nothing else you should be doing instead. 

What is your method?

How do you clarify your goals to yourself? Leave a comment to spread your best tip!

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