You already know that setting daily priorities is key to accomplishing long term goals. Yet, you find yourself jumping into work and rushing to deal with ‘important’ crap before doing so, only to find at the end of the day, you did not set your priorities. Why is this? It’s most likely because your subconscious thinks that it’s hard, painful, and you’re convinced that you already know what you have to do today.
Having a list of daily priorities is the difference between working hard and efficient, and working smart and effective.
Why set daily priorities.
- Keeps you focused
- Better repels distractions
- Critical to achieving milestones and long-term goals
- Increases daily effectiveness, which accumulates and provides exponential long term results
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Master Sun Tzu
How to set daily priorities.
First off, keep it simple.
Complicating the task of setting daily priorities will surely create anxiety and resistance. By keeping it super simple, and might I add, short, you will be more likely to continue the practice daily.
ABC your priorities
Don’t overthink, just list out your priorities in no particular order. Then add the letter A, B, or C beside each one.
A: Priorities that MUST get accomplished today
B: Priorities that are important, but if not accomplished, the world won’t end.
C: Nice to complete, but no bearing on future goals and objectives
Paper and pen
Feel free to use real paper and pen. You remember those right? You already have enough tabs and folders open, and programs running. Keeping your daily priorities on paper is a great way to turn away from the screen but not your objectives.
Nothing like a clean sheet of paper with just a few items on it to check off.
Weekly, monthly, longer term
The trick behind setting daily priorities is knowing what you have to accomplish at the end of the week, month, and of course long term.
Set weekly and monthly milestones first. These milestones should be based on your medium and/or long term goals. By knowing what you have to accomplish by the end of the week and month, it is easier to break milestones down into smaller daily tasks and goals.
Review every 4 weeks
Zoom-out from your daily grind so that you can see from a bird’s-eye view.
Set it in your calendar to review the last month, and plan for the next. By reviewing and optimizing your medium and long term goals, you’ll have an easier time breaking things down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Don’t pack tightly
You don’t want to pack your schedule expecting to work 8 out of 8 hours. Scheduling 4-5 hours is more than adequate when breaking down your week into daily goals. Why? Simply because other things will pop up. By not having the additional few hours of room, you’ll break under the pressures of reality. Realities include but not limited to:
- Getting sick
- Team member getting sick, and now you have to compensate
- Family errand/emergency
- New business opportunity to take advantage of
- Alien encounter
Priorities are not just work
Don’t ever feel guilty listing your personal and business priorities in the same list. In fact, I recommend it. You never know when you have a few minutes to spare at lunch to make that call to your mother-in-law you’ve been dreading.
A simple how to guide to setting daily priorities.
Answering the following questions will help you figure out what your daily tasks are, and from that, you can set your priorities accordingly.
Complete, review, and adjust every 4 weeks.
- What achievements/goals do I want to accomplish in 6 months?
- Why are the above achievements/goals important and how do they impact the future?
- Break down the 6 month achievement into monthly milestones:
- Get specific about the next four weeks. What milestones do I want to accomplish?
- Why are the above accomplishments important and how do they impact the future?
- What do I need to accomplish weekly to hit my 4 week milestone?
Complete, review, and adjust once a week.
- In the next 7 days, what do I need to accomplish to be on track for the next 4?
- Break it down daily. What do I need to do daily, to accomplish the next 7 days?
Today – do this daily
- What do I need to do today/tomorrow to be on track with my weekly goals?
Every week, you should review the last 7 days, see where you are according to your 4 week milestones and your longer-term goals. Adjust where you need to. Project another 4 weeks.