#62: How to Prioritize When You Don’t Know Where to StartJul 27, 2023
Confession: I am a TikTok Person.
I love it, I get it, it gets me. Short visual content is the way my brain likes processing stuff, from dog videos to life hacks to all the personal development folks I follow. 😅
And it’s been really fun to share snippets of ideas that people can go implement in their real lives and hear back from them, that something was “exactly what I needed to hear today” or “this is mind-blowing” etc. It’s the WHOLE point of me doing this!
So a) come hang out with me on TT if you’re over there! @thedecisioncoach
And b) if you’re getting any value out of this podcast, I would love love to hear about it. If you have the bandwidth & inclination, you can leave a rating and review to let me know what’s resonating, what you’re trying out, what’s helpful. (Thank you!)
OK: Onto our topic for the day, which was inspired by TikTok, which is how we got onto that in the first place! A lot of what I’ve heard from people over there lately is about “prioritizing.”
How do I choose what to do first, how do I feel ok about what’s not getting done while I’m doing something else, how do I not self-sabotage and say I’ll do this but then put it off forever.
If you ever find yourself asking these questions - these next FEW episodes are gonna be for you.
We’re gonna do a series on this, because this is a fun topic to get super specific about. I think a lot of the issues people have with seeking help with prioritizing is that broad advice can only help so much. So we’ll take a look at a few specific prioritizing problems + talk about real solutions.
AND if you’re listening real-time, make sure you sign up for the upcoming workshop: the Get Shit Done Decision-Making Workshop happens Aug 10th.
That workshop is gonna have all kindsa gold when it comes to Prioritizing, Follow-through and Dealing with “Fires” - and if you’re listening in the future, hi from the past!, there will likely be a replay at that link so go check it out.
Today we’re looking at how to prioritize when you don’t know where to start.
Maybe you have a lot of ongoing projects or a lot of life + work commitments right now, maybe you have a lot you want to do and it feels mushy and overwhelming in your mind, maybe you have lots of overlapping deadlines.
Whatever the case — here's a roadmap out of brain chaos and into clear-headed decisions you can trust about what to do next.
First, ZOOM OUT.
Get outta the weeds of this next hour and broaden your perspective to your bigger goals.
The part of your brain that wants to focus on the immediate is really useful & effective in certain situations. Usually for getting something done, doing deep work on a single task, getting into flow.
This is not the best part of your brain to make high-level decisions like “What do we prioritize first?”
Imagine a factory and there’s the person who’s an expert at this one machine and working on that is there total jam - and there’s the person standing up above the whole floor, with a bird’s eye view of what orders are coming in, what shipments are going out, etc. They’re just different zones of genius, right? You don’t want the laser-focus machine person making decisions about workflow.
So zoom out to what you already decided was important this month / quarter / year.
Get into that mindset, where you have a longer view, and work your way backwards from there: “Given that X is what I want to ultimately accomplish, that means Y + Z are most important to move forward this week, and what I can / want to do today is W.”
Obviously, this works best when you’re clear on your longer-term goals. If you’re not, don’t worry - that episode is coming.
You can also get the Clarity Workshop, which gives you 3 different Goal Setting techniques to work with your brain, where you are today, and get your goals clear, concise & on paper.
So let me tell you how this looks for me, when I do it, so we can really get specific. I run a business, which means I make up what I have to work on, and there are lots of things happening at once: Podcast, TikTok, Workshops, Client Work, Training + Certifications, Group Program.
Here are the questions I run through to organize the brain chaos:
- What’s due? What external deadlines mean things are important this week?
- What else is time sensitive?
- What’s the next thing I have to do for every other ongoing project?
- Which of those do I have time / bandwidth / enthusiasm for this week?
- What does Future Me (next week, next month) need from me?
- So it can be easy to feel like Where’s the best place to start - What makes the most sense to prioritize first
Important note! Make this your own & be kind to yourself.
There's no perfect way to do this process. Ask any of these questions in any order. The less "perfect" you try to be, the easier it'll be to hear yourself clearly & trust your answers.
And a final fun factoid: The word "priority" used to be a singular noun.
It wasn't pluralized until the Industrial Revolution...but for 400 years before that, it was only possible to have ONE priority at a time. 🤯
What a concept right? I say we go back to this. As you decide what you're going to do first, adopt the internal rule that "only one thing gets to be most important for this next hour" (or whatever). This'll help you not guilt-trip yourself for everything you're not doing!
Let me know if these questions help — And keep trusting your answers!
- The FREE Get Shit Done Decision-Making Workshop happens Aug 10th - grab your seat!
- Clarity Workshop: Clarify your Vision, Goals & Values (and if goals feel murky right now - this gives you 3 different Goal Setting techniques to work with your brain, where you are today, and get your goals clear, concise & on paper)
- Ready to talk about working together? Book your free consult to share what you want to work on and find out how Coaching will guarantee growth & change!
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