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5 Key Questions for Setting Priorities

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

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5 Key Questions for Setting Priorities

5 Key Questions for Setting Priorities

https://www.briantracy.com/blog/general/5-key-questions-for-setting-priorities/

briantracy.com

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Key Ideas

John Maynard Keynes

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.”

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 first 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. 

5 key questions for setting priorities

  • Why am I on the payroll? Ask yourself if what you are doing right now is the most important thing that you have been hired to do.
  • What are my highest value activities?
  • What are my key result areas? What are the specific results that you have to get in order to do your job in an excellent fashion.
  • What can I, and only I, do that if done well will make a real difference?
  • What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?

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Applying the 80/20 Rule in Goal Setting
  • Assess your goals. Work on the most valuable all the time.
  • Work on the tasks with the greatest impact.
  • Think like a wealthy person. Do what one does.
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“When your goals are clear, you will come up with exactly the right answer at exactly the right time”

Make Dream a Reality

A dream is the root of all success, for having a dream does not limit you on what you can do. Successful people allow themselves to lean back and imagine the kind of life that is possible for them.

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Delegation = effective management skill

Without the ability to delegate effectively, it is impossible for you to advance in management to higher positions of responsibility.

Learning how to delegate is not only about maximiz...

Delegation method and staff experience
  • For new and inexperienced in the job staff -  use a directive delegation style (Tell exactly what you want them to do).
  • For staff that has experience in the job (they know what they are doing) - use the effective, management by objectives delegation method (Tell people the end result that you want and then get out of their way).
  • When the staff person is completely experienced and competent, your method of delegation in this case is simply, easy interaction.
Question to consider when before delegating
  • Who can do this job instead of you?
  • Who can do this job better than me?
  • Who can do this job at a lower cost than me?
  • Can this activity be eliminated altogether?

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Brian Tracy

Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life de..."

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Work Around Your Energy Levels

Productivity is directly related to your energy level.

Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.

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Time Debt
Time Debt

The choices we make to ‘borrow’ our personal time to get work done works against us in the long run, just like the money borrowed from a credit card has to be paid back with interest in the future....

Track Your Time

You need to find out just where your time is going currently. You can use a pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or an app to visualize where you spend most of the hours in your day.

Create A Time-Blocking Template
  • Block your time for specific types of work, not individual tasks.
  • Block your time for core work like coding, designing or writing, for shallow work like daily tasks and maintenance, for meetings and emails, and fill it with frequent breaks to replenish yourself.
  • Give yourself space between blocks so that you can decompress and keep your energy levels high.

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What Time Management Is

Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.

...

Eat That Frog!

Your “frog” is your most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.

Failure to execute

We tend to confuse activity with accomplishment: we attend endless meetings and make plans, but at the end of the day, no one does the job and gets the results required.

“Failure to execute” is among the biggest problems in organizations today.

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Defer

To defer means saying, "Not right now" rather than, "Not ever." This could be a new project you want to com mence in a week or two or it could be van idea you want to reflect on before takin...

Delegate

You might find it disconcerting when the results are somewhat different than when you complete the work yourself.

To delegate effectively, create a playbook breaking down a project or task step-by-step and detailing what the outcome looks like.

Do

Simply put, act on your tasks. The 2-minute rule can help with that:  If you can complete a task in two minutes or less, do it now.

It's amazing what you can accomplish in just 120 seconds: write an email, make a quick phone call, pull a report and so on.

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Mentally Prepare

Think if you are willing to sacrifice your free time to struggle to establish a side hustle and if you can handle the consequences of it. 

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Your Skills And Areas Of Interest

Acquire relevant skills, experience or industry knowledge necessary and ensure you have the passion and competence for what you are going to work on.

A good start is to monetize the skills you already have that are related to the side hustle you want to establish this. And if you lack key skills that relate to your interests or the side hustle you want to create, there's no better time than the present to learn them. 

Validate Your Side Hustle

Your side hustle idea may seem awesome and disruptive to you, but your potential customers will likely ignore it like most “brilliant ideas” or even not have a need for it. So, ensure you're not creating a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, as this is one of the top causes of startup failures.

You can do that with objective feedback from potential customers and asking them to join a waiting list, pre-purchase your solution or hire you as a service provider. 

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Personal Operations Category
  • Task management. This one is most commonly taught and includes systems like Getting Things Done.
  • Knowledge management. This is embodied in systems like productivity educa...
What's on your plate

Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place.  Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:

  • Do you have commitments to others like your boss, partner, kids, or clients?
  • Do you have anything you need to submit? 
  • Do you have any financial tasks that need to get done? 
  • Do you have any planning that needs to get done? 
  • Do you have any administrative tasks? Legal, insurance, staffing, or training?
  • Do you have any professional development tasks that need to get done? Training, areas to research, skills to develop, books to read or study, or classes to take?
Brainstorm your goals

Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:

  • What’s the one thing you could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary?
  • If you were giving advice to someone else in your position, what 1-3 things would you tell them to focus on?
  • What do you want to have accomplished over the next five years?

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The STAR Interview Response Technique
The STAR Interview Response Technique
  • (S) Situation: Explain the background of the situation. What was your job?
  • (T) Task: What was the particular task you had to perform? If there was a particular probl...
Goals provide structure to your work

 ... by giving you a prioritized list of things to get done.

They help you to identify your priorities, outline what you want to achieve when you want to ach...

Craig Jarrow
Craig Jarrow

“By saying no, you are giving yourself the ability and bandwidth to say yes to the things that are more important.”

Matt Mayberry
Matt Mayberry

“If you often find yourself run down by your daily workload or overwhelmed by the complexity of projects and tasks in your life, it is likely because you have not fully mastered effective time management.”

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