prioritizing & staying productve (part one)



Last week I shared my seasonal intention calendar and mentioned that I have a weekly priority list. In the comments, Virginia asked if I could share my priority list and I realized that though I have shared a bit about it in a Wish I Knew Wednesday long ago, I never shared the process here on the blog in detail.

So today, I plan to do just that.

I’ll quickly say right from the start that this practice comes from Habit 3 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (no surprise there, huh?). Basically, the chapter illustrates that we spend much of our lives “fighting fires” or working on whatever is most important and urgent at that point in time.

Note: This ineffective habit is a common subconscious perfectionist tool to avoid [inevitable] imperfections. We wait to do something important until we don’t have enough time to do it perfectly. Hello, college cramming. On the other hand, we could have too much going on at one time and feel constantly forced to play catch up – unable to be proactive and plan for things in a non-rushed manner. Sometimes this is a byproduct of a stressful career like emergency care or having a baby. But often, this is simply a habit we fall into.

Or, we often will work on urgent but unimportant tasks (like a phone call interrupting an author writing a book). And last but not least, we can spend a lot of time doing unimportant and non-urgent things longer than necessary.

For me, these last two time sucks come in the form of excess inbox and social media checking which “feels” urgent and is not important. I can easily spend my whole day consulting, writing, ‘catching up on emails,’ and checking social media without ever doing important, but non-urgent work on key projects for the future. No bueno.

Overall, the things we have the most difficulty doing on a regular basis – and what will bring us the most effectiveness during our lives – are the important but non-urgent priorities. For us to have the success – in whatever way we define it – in our careers, we must find a way to align our time with this area of our to-do list.

In part two of this series, I’m going to share a method to accomplish those important, but non-urgent tasks in all areas of our lives.

Read part two here.


Notepad from.

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  1. Great post. I did the 7 Habits book club and like to see mentions of how to apply it on the blog and in the newsletter. It’s a good reminder. Also, I just wanted to say I think you have done an amazing job incorporating the feedback you got into the blog. I loved hearing what feedback you got and seeing how you’ve made changes.

    1. Laura, thank you, thank you. It really means a lot to hear you say that about the feedback! I agree, I have really taken the suggestions to heart and am so eternally grateful for them. I too, think that the site is so much better with the suggestions that were made as well!

  2. This is great! I have that bad habit of working menial tasks and forgetting about the important tasks. I recently realized that I do this, so I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

    1. I totally feel you, Rebecca. Stay tuned for an easy way to get those important tasks on the to-do list!

  3. Krysta

    Testing out TeuxDeux on your recommendation. Already feel like it’s make for me when they called the monthly subscriber the skeptic!

    1. For some reason I can’t see what you saw about the monthly subscriber skeptic, but I hope you like it!

        1. Krysta

          Must just be when you’re new to sign up – you can pick the monthly package – “skeptic” or the full year – “believer.” I like any product that seems to know me already!

          1. Jess Lively

            Lol! I didn’t know that, that’s awesome!

  4. Ugh, I lose so much time checking emails and and other little things that seem important but really aren’t.

    1. I know, I’m right there with you. I’m working to create a ‘writing room’ in the guest room where I simply do not go in my inbox. By creating the space and intention not to check in that space, I’m hoping I can avoid the trigger that the living room seems to have for me right now with email checking.

  5. Virginia

    Yay! Thank you, Jess! I’m using the Week Plan app for that but even with it, I end up more focused on my little daily to-dos.

    1. My pleasure!

      It is hard to really do this well, but with practice and dedication I think we can all make progress in this area!

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