Prioritizing (& getting your to do list under control in 4 days)

Have you ever wondered how some people get a lot more done than other people? Since we all have essentially the same amount of time, how is it some people get more done than others? It really comes down to prioritizing.

Prioritizing all the things you have to do is hard. Without a system to get it done, it becomes impossible to get all the things completed. Following is a proven process for getting more done and your time back under control.

You’re going to need a few sheets of paper, or open your Evernote, One Note, or Google Docs.

  1. Look at your goals. If you don’t yet have goals, you’ll want to stop everything and set them in writing.
  2. Close the door, and turn off your phone. Turn off all your email, calendar and SoMe notifications. (You may be able to set your computer to airplane mode for a few minutes.)
  3. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  4. Make a list. Do a brain dump of all the things you need to do. Keep going until the timer goes off. If you finish early, keep thinking. If you’re not finished, pretend your finished. You’ll get to do this again tomorrow. 
  5. Look at your goals again.
  6. Review the list for anything that doesn’t move you toward your goals. Cross those out. If they are still important, put them on another list. Place that list aside.
  7. Review the list again for anything that could be put on your calendar or schedule, like “lunch with Chad”. Schedule it. Send the invite, if necessary. Cross it off your list. Or change the list item to “Schedule lunch with Chad” instead of “Have lunch with Chad”. Once you’ve scheduled, mark it Completed.
  8. Review your list for anything that can be delegated. And don’t just think about people who work for you, but about anyone who likes to do that thing and who might even do it better than you. Remember there are places like Fiverr and Task Rabbit. Delegate these items. Make sure to include any specifics that will determine the success of the activity and a due date & time. Ensure you get agreement from the person who is going to do it. Then move those items to your Delegation List, along with who is doing it and when it is due, so you can follow up later. Cross those items off your list. Once you’ve delegated, mark it Completed.
  9. Review what’s left on your list. It should be shorter than when you started. Sort what’s left in order of priority. Put anything that is seriously urgent at the top. Place anything that other items are dependent upon next, meaning that this item must come before another item in order to get the second item done. Then prioritize the rest. Place them in order of priority asking yourself “What gets the biggest result with the least amount of input of your time, energy and money?” This will put the highest leverage potential items at the top of your list.
  10. Start at the top and do the list.
  11. Keep the list for tomorrow.

Repeat this tomorrow, starting by writing down anything that you didn’t complete today. Repeat the next day. And the next.

What you are likely to find is that on day 1, the process is a little bit slow and seems daunting. You may not complete everything on your list. Those items will move to day 2’s list.

After 4 days of following this process, post a comment. We’d love to know how this is working for you.


To get your preformatted and organized copy of your new To Do List (a to do list on steroids!), download here. It’s included for free when you sign up for the Focus Forward Business Membership.


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