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4 practical steps to prioritize effectively

Over 25 years ago, Stephen Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book is timeless, and its core principles are as relevant today as ever.

One of the seven habits I often discuss with my clients is habit #3: Put First Things First. 

What does this mean? Well, it’s about prioritization. 

It means you need to focus on what’s most important to you before spending time on less important tasks. 

In other words, as a leader, your goal is to organize and execute around your most important priorities.

Do you do that? 

Do you even know what your top priorities are these days? 

If not, you are certainly not alone. 

In a world where change is our only constant, it makes prioritization really challenging. 

In fact, I speak to leaders regularly who are not certain that they are spending their time on the right tasks each week. 

So, here is a four-step process that you can do to get focused on what is most important.

The steps are:

  1. Write down every item on your to-do list
  2. Rate each item on your to-do list either an A, B, or C
    • A – refers to your tasks that are urgent and important.
    • B – refers to your tasks that are important but not urgent.
    • C – refers to tasks that are neither urgent nor important right now.
  3. Share your list with your manager and ask them to use the A, B, C method to prioritize your to-do list
  4. Compare your lists to see if you are aligned

This activity is so powerful.

It will allow you to ensure that you are putting first things first.

It will ensure that you are aligned with your leader.

It will help you feel really focused and ensure you are spending time on what matters.

It’s a great way to decrease your stress and enhance your effectiveness! 

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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