There are endless prioritization guides out there. Everyone wants to know how to prioritize their work, get more done and be more “productive ™”.
But, this doesn’t usually lead to much change. They end up getting faster at putting together widgets or triaging minutia, but they look up and wonder why they never seem to get anything really done.
That’s the first key to prioritization:
You don’t need to do everything. You need to do the things that matter.
This isn’t a 2,000 word article designed for Google with endless tips and tricks on how to implement your next prioritization system.
You know why?
The reason you’re lacking priorities is because of two things – clarity & courage.
If you’re not sure what next steps there are to take – you’re not clear. Write it down.
Then, if you’re not sure what to do next – it’s probably because you’re getting confused with the wrong metrics:
- How long will this take?
- How much does this cost?
- How much do I feel like doing this?
None of these things actually matter. In fact, you’re asking entirely wrong questions:
The question you need to be asking is “what matters?”
And – the key is – you already know (it’s the thing that popped up in the back of your head when you read that).
Like 80/20, it’s a lie to think that you need to do everything. You need to do the things that matter. The levers that move mountains. The things that scare you.
And there it is.
The real reason you’re not moving big levers is because you’re scared.
- You don’t need another tactic.
- You don’t need 2000 words.
- You need to find your balls and go after it.
Fear Based Prioritization
If you need to prioritize something – and want it to actually make an impact – do it based on fear.
Here’s what you do:
- Make a list of what you need to do.
- Rank it based on how much each item scares you.
- Start with the scariest item first.
Whatever fear you feel, use it. Let your lizard brain jump start you out of your newtonian level stagnation and redirect the energy to accomplishing the task at hand rather than running away from it.
You don’t need more tactics. You don’t need more analysis. You need balls (lady balls work too). And you need to get started.
Make the list. Start with the scariest first. You’re welcome.
A lot of people talk about eating the frog – it’s like cold showers (aka do the hardest thing first). This is that concept up-leveled. You can call it eating the scorpion. Get the scariest thing out of the way first.