You may’t have multiple prime precedence. You simply can’t.
Deciding to prioritize one factor means, by definition, deciding to not prioritize one thing else. That is as self-evident as it’s simple to disregard — which is why it’s vital to be intentional about it. The choice is making an attempt to do the whole lot, which defeats the entire objective of setting priorities.
You may’t dedicate forty hours to 5 totally different tasks subsequent week — not less than, not with out some type of Hermione Granger-type time journey. Everyone knows this, within the summary, however fail to maintain it in thoughts whereas planning. It’s simple to make each undertaking the highest precedence, however that really implies that we’ve got no priorities.
I’ve been burnt out sufficient — and confused by time journey plots sufficient — to know what that results in: getting nothing accomplished. That’s why it’s a good suggestion to be express about which tasks aren’t a precedence, not simply which of them are.
A weekly record of deprioritized tasks
We’ve been considering so much about priorities at Zapier this yr. Everybody right here writes a weekly Friday update, which till lately was more-or-less a weekly record of accomplished duties.
Nevertheless, that method lacked focus, so we modified issues up: now everybody outlines what their prime precedence was previously week and what their prime precedence will likely be within the week to come back. This train forces us to consider which undertaking is most vital and commit to creating progress on it.
However, like I stated, there’s a flip facet to deciding on a precedence, and that’s deciding what’s not a precedence. Michael Shen, Director of Promoting and Paid Media right here at Zapier, determined to make this express each week. In a current Friday replace, he wrote:
We now have resultslogs, changelogs, and researchlogs: we don’t actually have deprioritized-logs; didn’t-get-to-it-logs; something-came-up-logs. To fight this, I’m taking time in every Friday replace for the foreseeable future to speak about just a few issues that I didn’t get to.
And so he has, utilizing his weekly replace to catalog not solely the issues he prioritized, but additionally the issues he deliberately didn’t prioritize.
“Deprioritization is regular, however we don’t but do a fantastic job of it at Zapier,” Michael instructed me, including that making this modification has given him each readability and steadiness. “Since making this modification, my work-life steadiness has been so good that I really feel fairly responsible about it.”
He shouldn’t really feel dangerous — he set a precedence and caught to it. For Steph Donily, Head of Content material and Communications at Zapier, publicly admitting to deprioritizing tasks is, partly, about setting an excellent instance relating to work-life steadiness.
“It’s not snug admitting that I can’t do the whole lot myself,” stated Steph. “However I’ve to deprioritize tasks as a result of I wish to make it clear that it’s okay for my workforce to do the identical factor.”
It’s vital to notice that deprioritizing one thing doesn’t imply not doing it — it means not doing it now. Each Steph and Michael are express about this of their updates, stating that these are tasks they may get to finally. They only weren’t an important factor to take a position time in for the time being.
Determine how you’ll, and gained’t, make investments your time
You solely have so many hours in per week, so be sure to’re utilizing them for the issues that matter most proper now. Decide one priority every week and persist with it.
You may be capable to end 5 tasks subsequent week. That doesn’t imply all 5 tasks are your prime precedence. Prioritization is about determining which issues you’ll make investments your time in, within the quick time period. Deprioritization is about determining which issues you must postpone till later.
Prioritizing one undertaking means deprioritizing one thing else. That’s simply how it’s. You may ignore this actuality, otherwise you may be intentional about addressing it.
Printed March 26, 2021 — 09:46 UTC