You possibly can’t have multiple high 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 straightforward to disregard — which is why it’s vital to be intentional about it. The choice is making an attempt to do every thing, which defeats the entire objective of setting priorities.
You possibly can’t dedicate forty hours to 5 completely different tasks subsequent week — at the least, not with out some form of Hermione Granger-type time journey. Everyone knows this, within the summary, however fail to maintain it in thoughts whereas planning. It’s straightforward to make each undertaking the highest precedence, however that really signifies that now we have no priorities.
I’ve been burnt out sufficient — and confused by time journey plots sufficient — to know what that results in: getting nothing finished. That’s why it’s a good suggestion to be specific about which tasks aren’t a precedence, not simply which of them are.
A weekly listing of deprioritized tasks
We’ve been considering rather a lot about priorities at Zapier this yr. Everybody right here writes a weekly Friday replace, which till not too long ago was more-or-less a weekly listing of accomplished duties.
Nonetheless, that method lacked focus, so we modified issues up: now everybody outlines what their high precedence was up to now week and what their high 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 mentioned, there’s a flip aspect 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 specific 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 in addition the issues he deliberately didn’t prioritize.
“Deprioritization is regular, however we don’t but do an amazing job of it at Zapier,” Michael informed me, including that making this variation has given him each readability and steadiness. “Since making this variation, 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, partially, about setting a great instance in terms of work-life steadiness.
“It’s not snug admitting that I can’t do every thing myself,” mentioned Steph. “However I’ve to deprioritize tasks as a result of I wish to make it clear that it’s okay for my group 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 specific about this of their updates, stating that these are tasks they’ll get to finally. They only weren’t crucial factor to speculate time in in the intervening time.
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 precedence each week and follow it.
You would possibly be capable to end 5 tasks subsequent week. That doesn’t imply all 5 tasks are your high 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 have to delay till later.
Prioritizing one undertaking means deprioritizing one thing else. That’s simply how it’s. You possibly can ignore this actuality, otherwise you will be intentional about addressing it.
Printed March 26, 2021 — 09:46 UTC