We sat there staring at the list of house work to be done, the list seemingly endless; Garage to be cleaned, patio to be straightened, closets to clean, and last but not least, college football to be watched. We only had a day to get it all done because quite frankly I knew Sunday would be filled with church, reading, visiting with friends on the phone, eating a wonderful meal my husband prepared for me and of course, my afternoon nap. Prioritizing the important to the available resources was going to be crucial to our “success”.
Much like our weekend, there are very few people or companies that have endless resources to support everything that could be done, much less what should be done. Understanding how to: divide and conquer, prioritize the urgent of the day, prioritize to what is important in reaching your goals, balancing the urgent and important – is a daunting task.
Instead of thinking about all the things you cannot get done, flip the equation and ponder on the following:
- Identify your biggest issues. How do they interconnect with each other? Can you find the “end of the thread” and pull on it? If you pulled on the “one thread” would it solve (or begin to solve) more than just that one issue?
- If you rearranged your timeline expectation, could you fit a longer term project in the open spaces of your week? Maybe this longer term project could solve some of those ankle biter issues. But if you never get to the longer term project, the ankle biting will continue
- What could you stop doing that no one would notice? Can you stop attending a certain meeting that takes time but you never seem to provide equal value to the time spent?
- How would you best let go of the lower priorities to make room for the higher priorities? Can a more junior person replace you in a project? They gain valuable growth experience and you gain valuable time to attend to a higher priority issue. So what would you let go and how would you best communicate it to the team?
- When is the last time you tracked your time? Have you ever kept a time log on how you spend the day? Can you justify the time you spend on those things? If not, why not?
Understanding your priorities is the starting place of prioritizing the resources. There are only 24 hours in a day and while some things “just have to get done” – identifying those that don’t can help you plan the right resources to accomplish the right priorities.
As for us, the garage was cleaned, the patio straightened, and football was watched. The closets, they are on the wait list. Maybe I’ll convince my husband that cleaning a closet is as exciting as watching a game. No? Yeah, I din’t think so either…