Monday, November 7, 2011


If you are to have any hope of surviving National Novel Writing Month, you will need to set priorities. Also, you will need copious amounts of caffeine, an understanding spouse or significant other, and possibly a unicorn. But today, I will talk to you about the big P.
At first glance, it seems like setting priorities are extremely easy, right? Especially if your priorities are rewatching the Harry Potter movies, reading obscure (or not so obscure) science fiction, and trying to invent new candies.  Certainly author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey makes it sound fairly easy.

However, we know that isn't always the case. Still, Covey makes a good point about taking the time to think about what is really important to YOU. We can't prioritize if we don't know what is really important. So your first step is figuring out what is most important to you. You might try ranking them to help you. Here is an example from my own life of some things that are important to me:

  • Completing NaNoWriMo
  • Spending time with my family
  • Spending time with friends
  • Exercising
  • Working on my Toastmasters' goals
  • Doing well at work
  • Reading fiction
For this month, writing is very important to me, but how does it stack up against the others? Well, even though I want to complete NaNoWriMo that still doesn't trump wanting to do well at work as that is what keeps food on the table. However, for one month I am willing to put my Toastmasters's goals on hold and spend less time with my family and friends (In fact, I told most of my friends they wouldn't hear from me again till December.). Here is how I would rank my priorities this month:
  1. Doing well at work
  2. Completing NaNoWriMo
  3. Exercising
  4. Spending time with family 
  5. Reading fiction
  6. Spending time with friends
  7. Working on my Toastmasters' goals
Next month, it might look more like this:

  1. Doing well at work
  2. Spending time with family 
  3. Exercising
  4. Spending time with friends
  5. Working on my Toastmasters' goals
  6. Writing
  7. Reading fiction 
Your priorities will be different and there are a number of systems you can use to help you prioritize. You can start by reading some of the articles below. However, you need to find the one that works best for you and in the end, you are the one who needs to decide what is really important to you.


How to Prioritize Yourself AND Be More Effective in Your Life

Books to Consider:

First Things First
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better

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