The NEW priority levels system is your key to actually getting things done. You may have heard me mention this before, and I go over this in detail in episode 006. That means seeing your goals, hopes and dreams to the finish line is more of a priority in your life!
Today I’m going through those three levels that you need to know in order to live a happier, more productive and prioritized life. I’ll also give you extra tips on how to use this system and your time in the most effective ways! For more details, subscribe to the podcast and listen to episode 024!
Important and urgent. These are ‘putting out the fire’ kinds of tasks. They are tasks related to our goals and push goals forward, but it’s really stressful, because they are under a time crunch. These are the things that have to be done right away. We want to get these things done so we’re in control of our time with less urgent tasks.
Important and non-urgent. Priorities are not all equal. We want to spend most of our time here in level 2, working on these important and not urgent tasks. These are actually the items that are going to push us right toward our goals, to our dreams, to the things we really want to do. They take time, patience and need thought (although they still need deadlines)!
Level 3: INSIGNIFICANT
Not important, but urgent tasks. These are the ones I call “Insignificant.” A lot of tasks we encounter throughout our day fall into this level. These are the tasks that other people push onto us, which creates a sense of urgency, but they don’t move us closer to our goals.
So, the three levels are Immediate, Important and Insignificant. These priority systems only work if we’ve mastered the art of the word “no.” Otherwise, we get stuck with a laundry list of insignificant level tasks and we feel too out of control to work on our Important priority level (2). We can’t treat all the things as equals. Not everything is a priority.
Those insignificant tasks – responding to emails, attending the meetings – those are the things that stop you from being fired. But your deep and important work, the things that propel you forward towards your bigger goals, your projects and tasks, that’s what gets you promoted or to any other goal you have.
TIP: Think outside the box. Many working parents feel like they can’t do happy hours, meetups or social events and sometimes feel like they might be missing out. If these things are important to your business or your personal life, there are ways to fit them into your days. Schedule important items first and then working the rest of your schedule around it is the best way to go about this. So, don’t just think about 9 to 5 as your work time. For many people this is not even their most productive time. Think about it in terms of how you can make it so that your important items get put on your calendar first.
TIP: Change the script for yourself. I had a script I had in my head about what it meant to be a “good” mom. I thought that good moms stayed home, they had cookies baked when their kids got off the bus, they volunteer all their time with school, etc. But we can only do so much. I had to shift my mindset and my schedule along with it. Allow yourself to find and create pockets of time. If you’re a stay-at-home mom like I was, use nap time to your advantage.
Now my kids are older and they go to school every day. So, I go to the studio or I work at the house. I generally get up early and I work in the morning before my kids get up. Then I spend some morning time with them and then I go back to work and I leave my studio around 2 or 3 in the afternoon to spend the afternoon working on homework and things for my kids. Then in the evening, I come back to doing a little bit more work before unwinding. That’s what works for me. That has allowed me to feel good about how I’m spending my time in my Important Priority Level. It’s really about finding what works for you.
TIP: Create pockets of time. This goes hand in hand with the above tip. Treat your time like you would your money and bank it up! Find out where you’re spending time in your day and see if you can fit in some things that are important to you into that time slot. When you treat time like money and you invest in it, you’ll begin to see a return on the investment. It starts to compound with interest. It’s about taking these little time snippets and building them into something bigger. A great example is Stephen King, who advises people to read 5 hours a day. That sounds a little crazy and impossible, right? But he does this by fitting reading into every second of his day that he can. While he’s standing in line, when waiting for the lights to dim in a movie theater, any spare moment he has he spends it on reading because that’s what’s important to him. You can do the same thing with the things that matter to you.
TIP: Plan your day backwards. Assume you’re going home at a certain time and then plan your day backwards from there. Feeling in control of your schedule prevents you from feeling burnt out at work. Then you begin to spend your time more wisely because you’ve created a plan. So, start with the end in mind. This is just like what we talk about with goal-setting. Always starting off with where you want to be at the end. At the end of your day, when do you want to be grabbing your coat and heading out the door?
I recommend listening to these three podcast episodes: 006, 022 and 024. These episodes in conjunction will completely empower you to schedule in your goals and know what your priorities are while consistently working toward them!
Balance out the heavy work days with the lighter work days. Balance out the days that you work mostly on insignificant objectives with the days that you work on important objectives. It’s all about the harmony.