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Setting Priorities 101: Master the Art of Goal Setting - Toggl Blog

Identify Your Goals

Start by taking a bird’s eye view of your life and slowly nail down more specific goals.

Identify your big goal. Then get more granular and identify specific goals along the way.

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Setting Priorities 101: Master the Art of Goal Setting - Toggl Blog

Setting Priorities 101: Master the Art of Goal Setting - Toggl Blog

https://blog.toggl.com/setting-priorities/

blog.toggl.com

8

Key Ideas

Setting priorities

Properly setting priorities is an essential skill for business success. 

Take a long-term view when setting priorities and you’ll have a much greater chance of achieving your objectives.

Identify Your Goals

Start by taking a bird’s eye view of your life and slowly nail down more specific goals.

Identify your big goal. Then get more granular and identify specific goals along the way.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Each goal you set should be S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

  • Specific: The more specific your goals are, the better chance you have of achieving them.
  • Measurable: Can you identify milestones to hit along your way to success?
  • Attainable: Are you willing and able to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve your goal?
  • Relevant: A goal that you care about.
  • Timely: Make sure every goal you set is time-bound.

Organize Your Tasks

Start planning daily tasks.

These tasks can then be organized on your to-do list.

Use the Eisenhower Box

A highly effective framework for setting priorities.

Tasks are classified into one of four boxes.
  • You want to first focus on Important and Urgent tasks
  • Tasks that are Important but not Urgent should be scheduled in your calendar. 
  • Urgent but Not important duties should be delegated when possible. 
  • Assignments that are Neither Important or Urgent should be eliminated from your to-do list completely.

By prioritizing tasks this way, you’ll allow yourself to really focus on the important things without becoming distracted.

The 80/20 Rule

Another way to prioritize tasks is by using the 80/20 rule. This rule states that 20% of your work will account for 80% of your results. 

To use the 80/20 rule when setting priorities, analyze the items on your to-do list. Which of them will have the greatest impact on your current project, career, and life? These are the tasks you should focus on. 

Everything else can be delegated, dropped, or accomplished after you’ve completed the most important assignments.

Eat the Frog First

“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Regardless of where this saying comes from, it’s a valuable concept. If you struggle with procrastination, you would be wise to schedule your most difficult assignments first thing in the morning.

The ABCDE Method

First, write down every single task you need to accomplish. Then go through and mark each task with a letter ranging from A to E.

  • “A” tasks are very important. If they aren’t done, you and/or your business will experience serious consequences.
  • “B” stands for important tasks. They are things you should do, but will only result in minor consequences if they are left undone.
  • “C” tasks are those you’d like to accomplish, but don’t represent any negative consequences when left incomplete.
  • “D” stands for delegate. These are assignments that should be completed, just not by you. Send them to someone else.
  • “E” tasks should be eliminated. The more jobs you cross off your to-do list immediately, the more time you have for the most important assignments.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

The Objective is qualitative, and the KR’s (most often three) are quantitative.

They are used to focus a group or individual around a bold goal. The objective sets a goal for a set per...

Objectives

Your objective defined in a single sentence should be:

  • Qualitative and inspirational. The objective is designed to get people jumping out of bed in the morning with excitement.
  • Time-bound. You want it to be a clear sprint toward a goal, doable in a month or a quarter.
  • Actionable by the team independently. Your Objective has to be truly yours, and you can’t have the excuse of “marketing didn’t market it.”

Key Results

Key results take all that inspirational language and quantifies it.

You create them by asking a simple question “how would we know if we met our objective?”

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The "frog"

It is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.

It is also the one task that can have the greatest positiv...

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

"One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all".

The ABCDE prioritization approach

  • A items : Things you must do, which will have a serious positive or negative consequence.
  • B items : Things you should do, that have minor consequences.
  • C items : Things that are nice to do but don’t have any real consequences when they’re done.
  • D items : Things to delegate so you can free up more time to do A tasks.
  • E items : Things to eliminate. Generally stuff you do out of habit.

John Maynard Keynes

“We must give a lot of thought to the future, because that is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives.”..."

John Maynard Keynes

Setting priorities

  • The first 20 % of any task usually accounts for 80 %of the value of that task. 
  • Once you begin working on that task, the first 20 % of the time that you spend planning and organizing the resources necessary to achieve the task usually accounts for 80 % of your success. 

In setting priorities, always focus on the fist 20 % of the task. Get on with it and get it done. The next 80 % will tend to flow smoothly once the first 20 % is complete.

Forget about the small things…

While setting priorities, never give in to the temptation to clear up small things first. 

Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in low-priority activities. 

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