Learning to Prioritize


Prioritization. Yuck. It’s a time-consuming, ever-changing task that no one wants to actually sit down and do. Sure, you know off the top of your head that the most important item on your list of dos is to call So-and-so. And you probably also know that, of all the things on your list, such-and-such is the least important.

But what about everything in the middle? Who has the time to sit down and list out all everything there is to do in a day, in order of importance?

In a word: You.

Prioritize Prioritizing
Yep, it sounds stupid. But setting aside ten minutes Sunday evening or Monday morning to prioritize your week’s to-do list could mean the difference between success and failure.

Be Ruthless
It would be great if everything came with the same level of importance and we could label all of it “High Priority.” But that’s just going to land you in a “boy who cried wolf” scenario where nothing seems important because everything is important.

Scrutinize your to-do list and be cut-throat about what gets moved to the top of the list and what gets added to the bottom. They guy who asked you to call him Monday should always get priority over the guy who asked you to reach out “sometime next week.”

Do the Work that Counts
Busy work is a necessary evil. If you don’t run your expense report, you’re stuck paying the bill for that client lunch. If you don’t run that illustration, you could lose the opportunity to close a new piece of business. Don’t fool yourself into believing that busy work is always a waste of time.

But also don’t fool yourself into believing that as long as you’re busy, you’re doing work that counts.

Analyze your day and decide when you have a good time to do busywork. Do you get into the office super early…way too early to call prospects or clients? That’s a great time to file your expenses. Do you like having something to do while you watch TV at night? Grab your laptop and run the illustration while you watch the game. Save the busy work for non-busy times and fill your working hours with real work.

Seek Help
Sales support can be found in a lot of different places. Your smart phone support your sales as it tells you where to be and when to be there. You use it store your contacts so you can reach them easily. You may use it for specialized apps to sell your product.

If you have an internal or an assistant, lean on him or her for support, like getting aforementioned busy work done or making the calls you ran out of time for.

There are also all kinds of time management software and apps available to help you prioritize your day. Check out Wunderlist for task management or Todoist for project management (and earn “karma points” as you get things done on time). Be Focused Timer helps you schedule your time in blocks and apps like Focus Booster can help you link the work you to do the revenue you earn – so you can always see where your time is most valuable.

Take the time to set up ways to prioritize your work. When you invest time in yourself, it will come back to you in productivity and success.

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