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There’s a lot of information available on productivity. If you’re the kind of person who works to consistently improve your

There’s a lot of information available on productivity.

If you’re the kind of person who works to consistently improve your process (as you likely are if you’re reading this), you’ve probably already read a lot of it.

But what is the most important principle of all? What do most productivity tips and tricks point towards, if not by name, by method alone?

Prioritization.

man-standing-field-contemplating-prioritiesOften, we act as if the value of all tasks we perform in a given day are equal. However, that’s not the case. Some tasks are vitally important to the development of our goals and dreams. Others are no more than daily upkeep.

Action expresses priorities.

– Mahatma Gandhi

The great thing about an effective method of prioritization is that you don’t need to be a wizard. You can actually be less effective at what you do than others, but you’re so much more focused and efficient in your daily work that they’ll never be able to catch you.

Sure, improving your craft and individual skill set is important. However, if you’re focusing on the wrong tasks, you’re just shortchanging yourself.

How to master prioritization

An effective system of prioritization includes the ability to:

  1. Decide what is most important
  2. Create a plan
  3. Effectively prioritize those most important tasks

And as you carry out that sequence of steps, you’ll run into problems.

These problems will be different for everyone. However, think of this as a checklist you need to tackle your problems. Start at the top and go down the list fixing issues as you go.

Deciding what is most important

woman-writing-to-do-list

Photo Credit: Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

First, you might realize that what you thought was most important to you actually isn’t. This is often easy to notice because when it comes time to act, you lack the passion and enthusiasm to do so. Go back to the drawing board and ask yourself the question (if you haven’t already): “If money weren’t an issue, I would _____.”

However, this can also be because you’re mind is too cluttered. So, make sure to adopt some sort of activity that regularly clears your mind like a morning walk or meditation.

Creating a plan

Now that you know what needs to be prioritized, you need to create a plan that allows you to effectively take action on those most important tasks. When will you do them? How many of them will you do? What is your timeline to complete a particular task? These are things your plan will help you nail down. It will also help you stay focused.

You could always move straight to the next step (as many of you will be motivated to do). However, without a plan, you’ll end up losing focus and spending your time less effectively.

Actually prioritizing what is most important

Prioritizing what is most important is where you really see how effective your process is. This is where you take everything we’ve talked about thus far and apply it to your life.

Before, you might have taken action on all kinds of different tasks in a relatively aimless order. However, if you’ve done everything we talked about thus far, you likely won’t have any problems once you get to this step.

If you need more help, try creating a success list to further focus your daily efforts towards achieving your goals.

As you run through each of the steps above, identify issues as they arise and work to solve them, you’ll eventually smooth out your process and create a highly effective system that maximizes your productivity and brings you closer to success.