I love board games. I always have. Some of my favorite memories of my mom involve sitting at our kitchen counter and playing Sorry, or Gin Rummy or Pay Day.
I have two sons, my youngest shares my love of board games. My oldest does not. Part of the problem is that he doesn’t always understand the ultimate point of the game. I am teaching my boys chess and my oldest keeps thinking that capturing all the pieces is the object of the game instead of capturing the king. He has an opposite problem in checkers because instead of capturing all the opponents pieces, he wants to try to get his own pieces ‘kinged’.
The lesson is, because he starts with flawed priorities, he finds himself frustrated…but he’s learning!
We all get frustrated when we have flaws in our priorities. Knowing exactly what to start on will dramatically increase our success. I am not speaking of the bigger life values (My simple list is God, Spiritual/Physical Health, My Wife, My family, My Career.) I am talking about making priorities for a specific goal/project. How do you make that happen?
Two schools of thought:
1.) Do the most important things first. Start any project with the things that are most vital to said project. Make a list of all things that must get done. Put the most important one first and move on to the next. Steven Covey has written so much on this in First Things First, and in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His Franklin/Covey Planner has for years encouraged people to prioritize the most important things first, moderately important things second and marginally important things third. He even raises the question that the marginally important things may not even need to be done.
2.) Do the things that you can get done with minimal effort first. David Allen’s Getting Things Done emphasizes this approach. The thought here is do the things that can be done swiftly and easily first. This allows space for those projects that require more thought and strategy. It also maximizes what the title says, getting things done.
How do you know which one to choose? The one you are actually going to do! No system that is un-implemented is a good one.
The Big Question: Which system for prioritizing your tasks rings true to you? Why?