How to prioritize your tasks to have your results take off like a rocket!

by Jim Kaspari

What do people say in this new millennium when you ask them how they’re doing?  In my experience, they say “I’m so busy”.  It’s as if they wear it like a badge of honor.  Everyone is running around like crazy and bombarded with social media and digital information!  I’d be truly impressed if they said “You know, I’m so successful and happy, I’m meeting with my wife to decide what charities to share our wealth with … after that, heck, maybe I’ll work out at the gym and then help coach my kids’ soccer team …”  Maybe that’s an exaggeration for most of us, but I believe that Tim Ferriss was really on to something when he wrote the Four Hour Work Week.

Many of my clients come to me with a goal of making a million dollars.  They are eager and willing to do what it takes.  What I see is missing is that when we crystallize their goals, create their revenue model and detail out their action plan, they leave out how many maximum hours they are willing to work per week or month.  Our quality of life is equally important to achieving our goals.  Most folks think erroneously that you can be successful OR have free time.  I know that we can have both.

Want to know how to prioritize your action items so you achieve your goals faster AND have more free time?

Steven Covey wrote a famous book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  His billion dollar industry he created was founded on solid success principles.  A few key success tips include:  Take Action.  Surround yourself with a powerful intelligent team that compliments you.  My personal favorite is “sharpen the saw”.  Take time to prepare your tools and plan.  When you do that effectively, your work is 10x faster and more effective.

In Covey’s book, he outlines a two by two square matrix for prioritization of tasks.  One one axis, he has importance (important or not) and on the other is urgency (urgent or not).  The beauty of his model is you simply need to focus on actions that are important.  If it is urgent, put it higher on your list.

This model works quite well.  Where it falls apart is when we simply have too many choices on our “important” and “urgent” list.  When I see a to-do list like that my brain fogs over and all of a sudden checking my email, seeing what my friends are doing on Facebook or doing something that is brainless and easy for me suddenly become “priorities”.

The other roadblocks to success in prioritization are not having enough time and fear of the unknown.  As for fear of the unknown, it is common human behavior to put off what we don’t know how to do or have never done before because of fear of the unknown.  Here’s a good time to ask yourself how you can get some help or who can help you.  People love helping – it makes them feel good.  Go ahead and ask.  For more tips on overcoming fear and procrastination, read our article on how to overcome fear and get out of your comfort zone.

As far as not having enough time, it’s really a matter of self-management and prioritization.  We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week.  So why do some people succeed wildly while the majority does not?  Note – that was not a powerful question and rhetorical only.  The powerful question is how can we reach our goals with a limited amount of time?

Here’s the secret you’ve been waiting for:  

Simple yet powerful and elegant.  It’s the third dimension added to Covey’s model of how to prioritize effectively.  It’s significance.  What makes something significant or not?  How long will the results of the task last?  A simple example is deleting an email vs. unsubscribing.  Unsubscribing takes longer, but lasts forever.  Answering a clients’ important question over the phone helps that one client.  Adding the answer to your website under Frequently Asked Questions helps unlimited clients forever.  Providing a training session helps a limited class learn.  Creating an online training or digital information product helps unlimited people learn and can also create leveraged income for your business.

Significance in a task comes from how many people it will help, and how long will it last.  This is the magical third dimension for prioritization.  If you spend at least an hour a day on significant tasks, you will get off the hamster wheel and start moving up the mountain of success.

Please share your ideas for significant things you can start today for your business and life success.  Wishing you huge success with more free time …