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Prioritizing At Your Best with Passion, Play, Purpose and Persistence

Do you wish you were able to prioritize more effectively?  Is your To-do list driving you crazy?  Does it seem like there’s too much to do and too little time to do it? 

If any of these questions sounds like your story, here are four new stories to place all the demands of your day in.  Try any of them on that speaks to you and you’ve just become the author of a better story for you, one where you’re prioritizing at your best.

Prioritize With Passion: Let Your Talents Do the Work
Prioritizing with passion involves examining your To-do list through the story of your talents. 

Ask yourself:

  1. Which item on my To-Do list am I most passionate about?
  2. Which item on my To-Do list would give me the best chance at getting so engaged in doing it that I’d get lost in the activity?
  3. Which item most fully engages my strengths?
  4. Which item has the right level of challenge – not too hard, not too easy, not too short, not too long – for me today?
  5. Which item on my To-Do list would I do first if the only thing that matters is using my natural talents more today?

Prioritize With Play: Make Fun Your Priority
Prioritizing with play involves examining your To-do list through the story of what delights you, what is most pleasurable, fun for you. 

Ask yourself:

  1. What on my To-Do list would be most fun to do?
  2. What on my To-Do list is easiest to do?
  3. What on my To-Do list would take the quickest amount of time?
  4. If nothing else mattered than my delight, what’s the first thing I’d do on this list?
  5. Do I have the discipline and courage to include self-care, my happiness and delight as an important factor in prioritizing my To-do list?

Play is your best entry into the rewards of prioritizing. What’s the reward? I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t doing more work (although that’s always an option). It’s to get your most important work done in the shortest amount of time, cut out overwhelmed feelings that lead to procrastination, and allow you to stop working sooner, to have some fun, to take more breaks, and give you the breathing room to do your work at your own rhythm. Play your list and take the extra time to play ‘off the list’.

Prioritize With Purpose: The Point Where You Meet the World
The world around you needs you.  Let’s start there.  There would be no To-do lists or prioritizing if the world, the people you know, your job, your team, your clients didn’t need you.
Imagine a world where no one cared enough to need you, or anything from you.  It may sound wonderful for a short amount of time, but what about long term?  What a sad, lonely life!
Look at your To Do list through the lens of being of the most use to the world around you. Look for the point where (as Frederich Boechner said), “Your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

Ask yourself:

  1. What on my To-Do list is most important to me?
  2. What on my To-Do list is most important to the world?
  3. Where do those two items meet?
  4. What would provide the most benefit to the most people?
  5. What would allow me to see and viscerally experience the benefit I provide to the larger world?

Prioritize With Persistence: Effort + Time = Success
Prioritizing with persistence involves examining your To-do list through the story of your long-term goals. We all can get lost in the weeds of immediate demands if we don’t consciously re-focus on projects that are vital to us but won’t get done in a day, a week, a month, a year or even a decade.

Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. What’s one long-term goal or project that’s really important to me that I’d like to persist a little more with?
  2. Which item on my To-Do list is a step towards taking action on my important long-term goal?
  3. Which item on my To-Do list could be done repeatedly every day for at least thirty days (creating a new synaptic groove in the brain)?
  4. Which item on my To-Do list could be best moved along by application of grit, determination, will, perseverance?
  5. Which item is important enough for me to invest some long-term effort into?