Lifestyle / time management

Organizing Your Time: Prioritizing

Quote: As you plan you’re always prioritizing – whether you realize it or not. When you say, “I don’t have time to do this,” you’re really saying, “I choose to do something else instead.” Consequently, understanding what criteria to use when you make your choices is a critical factor in setting priorities. Sunny Schlenger

Priority, Which Priority?

Deciding your priorities can be a difficult task, especially when everything seems to be of utmost importance. First, you need to decide your “priority categories”. You can name your priorities in a way that reminds you of their true significance. You can designate them as

• High, medium, low

• Numbers, letters or colors

• Important & urgent, Important but not urgent, Urgent but not important

• Creative labels such as “I will be dead at the end of the day if I don’t finish…”, “Things will be easier if I complete…”, or whatever verbiage works for you

Second, remember that what is urgent to others may not be your top priority. In such cases, delegating, renegotiating, or saying “no” are critical skills to helping you prioritize. Third, consider that tasks that are really important are those that relate to your personal mission, vision, and values and to your professional objectives as applicable. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are

• Will completing this task matter in 1-2 years?

• Will not finishing this task have grave consequences for me or others?

• Is this item a piece of a larger job that is crucial?

Contrary to popular belief, not all tasks can be top priority. Yes, you have a job to do (personal or professional), however if you want to experience a higher quality of life, you must be able to determine what is truly important to you.

Prioritizing Pointers

Allow adequate time for your priority tasks by scheduling 50% more time than you think it will take.

Know the difference between tasks (which can be completed within a day), projects (which have multiple tasks and take more than a day to finish), and routines (things you do on a regular basis such as getting the mail everyday).

Re-evaluate priorities periodically.

© 2010 Janice Russell, CPO-CD. North Carolina’s first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, Janice Russell, and her firm, Minding Your Matters® Organizing, have built a reputation for helping business and residential clients organize their space, items, documents, and time using the flexible structure principle™. Janice’s workshops on topics such as tackling the “no time” trap, perishing paper piles, and stopping stuff from being overwhelming are dynamic, informative, and practical. Minding Your Matters® is dedicated to helping people achieve organization with lasting results™ in their personal and professional lives. Janice is highly regarded within her industry. She is a Golden Circle Member of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and past president of the North Carolina Chapter of NAPO. Janice is the author of the book Get Organized This Year! and two audios: Stop Letting Stuff Overwhelm You and Tackle the “No Time” Trap. For more information, please visit or call 919-467-7058.

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