A Recipe for Getting More Done: Lesson 2 - Prioritization.

September 11, 2007

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Video: How to Bake A Productivity Cake Lesson 2

In this podcast we continue the series How to Bake a Productivity Cake. This lesson covers the first key ingredient to getting more done, prioritization.

In lesson one we learned that in the absence of the four key ingredients, inefficiencies can rob us of 20% of our day. Prioritization is the first ingredient necessary to help eliminate these efficiencies.

Prioritization simply means looking at what needs to get done and putting it into some kind of order.

I refer to my prioritization system as my “what’s going on place” (W.G.O.P) because it’s the tool I use to figure out what’s going on (clever, huh?). An efficient WGOP tracks both calendar items, and task items.

The reason it’s important to have a “what’s going on place” is because if you don’t, you’ll be forced to rely on nature’s two prioritization tools: Your brain (trying to remember what to do), and your eyes (leaving stuff out as visual reminders). I love my brain, and I’m pretty fond of my eyes. But neither are reliable or efficient prioritization tools (they remind us at all the wrong times, and fail to remind us at the proper time).

So what’s a better way? Use a WGOP to track all your appointments and tasks. To make the WGOP work a few guidelines need to be set:

  • It should be your single source for what’s going on. If you have more than one, it’s easy to end up with competing priorities.
  • It needs to be easily accessible so you can add and adjust priorities as necessary. If it’s a hassle to use your WGOP, you wont!
  • It needs to be consulted often. If you capture tasks in your WGOP but never review them, why bother having a WGOP? Your WGOP should be consulted ever morning to get your day started, as well as every time you finish an activity to figure out what’s next.

A WGOP could be a book organizer, PDA, Outlook, note cards. There is no wrong answer so long as it’s the one place you look to figure out what’s going on.

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