Want More Success & Work/Life Balance? Learn to Prioritize.

Before you brush off this post as simply stating the obvious, indulge me in a reminder we can ALL use from time-to-time. I've had a number of conversations in the past week that, whether people realize it or not, all come back to time management and prioritization. Common signs that you could benefit from resetting your priorities:

  • You want to make a bigger impact at work
  • You want people to appreciate the work you do
  • You feel buried in emails and meetings, and you are constantly reacting or playing catch-up
  • You want more time to yourself outside of work
  • You want to spend the free time you have doing fulfilling things; things that make you happy

As I see it, there is only one fundamental prioritization question: what {fill in number from 1-3} change or action will have the biggest impact on my {work, life, project, success, finances, relationship}? Some examples of this question manifested in work and life:

  • Impact and Development: what 2-3 key behavior changes or performance improvements will have the biggest impact on my development and on my contribution to my team/company?
  • Project Management: What 2-3 tasks are critical to the success of my project this week? Tomorrow?
  • Work/Life Balance: What 3 things MUST get done today so I can leave the office at a decent hour without feeling guilty?
  • Happiness: What is one change I can make that will have the greatest impact on my happiness? (Applies to all other areas of life too)

We all know that emails, meetings and busywork could fill 24 hours of every day, seven days a week. The people who succeed are not the ones who get every tiny task done or try to improve on every single weakness. The ones who succeed are the people who focus their time and energy on the highest-impact, highest-priority activities and learn to say "no" or "you can wait" to the rest. They work smarter, not harder.


You may also want to check-out my earlier post on Brian Tracy's Eat that Frog! concept, and read the following About.com article about Pareto's Principle, which states that 80% of your results are achieved from 20% of your activities. Finally, if this topic really interests you, check-out the book "The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Acheiving More with Less" by Richard Koch.