When we don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. We’ve all been in that situation where we seemingly have 12 important tasks come across our desks all at once. It is an overwhelming feeling and our natural reaction is to work harder, faster, and longer if necessary. This increases stress, requires more of our energy, and cuts into time we could be spending with friends, family, or working on a side hustle.
This is another tip right from Tim Ferris’ Not-to-do list and again, it absolutely can’t be left off of my not-to-do list. So for today, try defining the single most important task of the day and make sure that nothing else that comes across your desk takes priority over it. Even if you need to return a phone call a little late and apologize for the tardiness. Often times it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen so that you can get the big important things taken care of. To quote Tim again, “The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates – or doing more – it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your business and life.
What I have found works best for me, is to categorize my to-do list into Three Categories:
- Top Priority: This is my most important task for the day and takes precedent over everything else on my list no matter what.
- Urgent Matters: These are my must accomplish tasks that I have determined need to be taken care of today. They come after my top priority task has been taken care of though.
- It can wait: Anything that can afford to wait a day or two falls into this list. If the end of my day rolls around and I still have items on this list but the other 2 categories have been completed for the day then I will pack up and head home for the day. This includes any tasks that won’t directly effect sales or our ability to complete a project deadline.
Often times its easy to think tasks are more important than they are. I found that as I started letting things sit in my inbox while I worked on my top priority I began to realize how not urgent some of my tasks actually were. Don’t be surprised if as time goes on your “It can wait” list becomes longer and longer each day.
As always, please feel free to comment below on how this did or did not work for you. Please follow me on twitter @millennialvs and on Instagram for additional content on what you can do to help improve your budget, savings, and income while living in a high cost of living city.