The Art of Prioritizing

For those of you who have been reading my blog regularly or have read my book, The Ordinary Leader, you know that I have been dealing with post-concussion symptoms for a long time. A few weeks ago, I hit my head again. It was a silly incident that shouldn’t’ have happened – I hit my head on a door in my house.

Anytime I bump my head there is a moment of pause where I wonder, “Am I going to be okay?” Most times when I have a minor bump to the head I am fine, but this time I was not. After two weeks of trying to keep working normally, I realized I needed to completely change my work habits and focus on giving my brain a break.

The problem was I had tasks and objectives I needed to complete. To truly take a break, I couldn’t do them all. I needed to prioritize my list! I’ve dealt with this before, so I knew the drill.

1. What tasks are essential?

The first rule of prioritizing work is to consider what actually needs to be completed. On reflection, many of the things I “needed” to get done didn’t actually have to happen. There were a lot of tasks on my to-do list that were more about me wanting to get them done.

2. What can you delegate to others?

Of the remaining tasks, I considered what could be delegated to someone else. It’s times like these that remind me how vital the team that surrounds me is. I was able to delegate many of the tasks on my list to others who would do them just as well as I, and in some cases better.

3. What are the most important tasks?

At this point, there were still a few things left on my list. All of us usually have one or two things that we do exceedingly better than others, or there are tasks that only we know how to do. For me, there was one item I needed to keep paying attention to. I couldn’t postpone, and I couldn’t delegate it. But, given that it was the only thing left on my list, I was still able to give my brain the break it needed and accomplish the task effectively – although it did take me longer than usual.

Are you spending enough time on the one or two tasks that are most crucial for the success, growth, and stability of your organization?

This last step is an interesting one for all of us to consider. Are you spending enough time on the one or two tasks that are most crucial for the success, growth, and stability of your organization? Or are you so weighed down by all the other tasks that could be postponed or delegated to others that you don’t’ give what’s really important the time you should?

I now feel a lot better. I won’t be able to jump into full time work right away, but when I do, I intend to keep my focus on those key tasks that are critical to our success as an organization.
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Randy Grieser, Author, Speaker

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