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First Things First: The 5 Secrets to Prioritization

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235768

entrepreneur.com

First Things First: The 5 Secrets to Prioritization
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Time is money and for entrepreneurs starting out, it is imperative both are utilized to their fullest. To maximize both, founders must prioritize. When we first started out, we were wrestling with some problems on how to build our personal-finance website, NerdWallet.

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5 lessons about Prioritization

  1. Beware the seduction of task-based lists: the process can create a sense a false sense of satisfaction once you cross intems off the list.
  2. Focus solely on themes that will drive growth: You have to understand the key drivers of your business and anything that doesn’t move those drivers isn’t a high priority.
  3. Forget perfectionism: You have to be willing to do things half way just to get more done with the higher chances to yield strong results.
  4. Do the hardest thing first: It eliminates the nagging dread that will sap energy away from other tasks as you postpone the inevitable. 
  5. Don’t plug leaky boat holes -- switch boats. Time spent bailing is time taken away from adding more profitable vessels to your fleet.

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Master lists

Capture everything on a Master List and then break it down by monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

  1. Start by making a master list—a document, app, or piece of paper where every current and future task will be stored. 
  2. Once you have all your tasks together, break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
  3. When setting your priorities, try not to get too “task oriented” - you want to make sure you’re prioritizing the more effective work.

Eisenhower Matrix

The matrix is a simple four-quadrant box that answers that helps you separate “urgent” tasks from “important” ones:

  • Urgent and Important: Do these tasks as soon as possible
  • Important, but not urgent: Decide when you’ll do these and schedule it
  • Urgent, but not important: Delegate these tasks to someone else
  • Neither urgent nor important: Drop these from your schedule as soon as possible.

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Forget perfection

Wanting to choose the perfect option holds us back from deciding.

Such options aren’t realistic, so we’re left instead with a handful of options that aren't particularly good or bad.

Make some immediate progress

Instead of trying to finalize your decision right away, commit to making some kind of progress with your decision.

Urgent Vs Important

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Time-Wasting Tasks

Some tasks are neither urgent nor important, but as these time-wasting tasks are in front of us, we end up consuming our time with them. These include:

  • Browsing social media
  • Reading junk articles and posts
  • Playing distracting games.

Avoiding Urgent Tasks

Urgent tasks are the ones that are not adding any value but come up to be done at that moment. The right approach is to avoid the urgent and focus on the important.

Example: Answering a phone call can seem urgent, due to its ringing, but it may not be that important.